The Workish Guide to CASL: CAWL (the Canadian Anti-Weird Law)

Workish New to CASL- CAWL stock bit.png

In July 2014, CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Law) legislation, one of the most restricting of its kind in the world, was approved to protect Canadians against unsolicited commercial electronic messages. If you’re getting fewer spam texts and emails, you have CASL to thank.

Now that a few years have passed since the original act was passed (and companies have adjusted to the new landscape around communication and legal compliance), a new CASL-like decree will be launching: CAWL, the Canadian Anti-Weird Law.

Like CASL, CAWL applies to sales-related electronic transmissions, but instead of focusing on constraints around distribution lists and implied consent through existing business relationships, CAWL identifies limits and fines for minor blunders and faux pas.

With that in mind, here’s a sampling of forthcoming Anti-Weird guidelines aimed at correcting marketing’s micro-annoyances.

Using Stock Photos featuring a “Thumbs Up”

Originally termed “photos for the lazy and tardy,” stock photography has risen in the ranks to become an industry standard among those aiming to reinforce notions like “We’re a collaborative team,” “Look how much our team loves working together,” and “We’re great to work with because we’re having so much fun!”

After an initial induction phase, this tenet will extend to limit usage of GIF’s of people shouting “Oh yeah!”.

Selling with Subject Lines

SUBJECT LINES SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS or containing the name of the company from which the email is originating, such as “Unbelievable New Dental Benefits from Sun Life” will be set for deletion in CAWL’s proprietary online tool-filter. CAWL is just as critical on email introductions under emerging regulations: coding a mass email beginning with a recipient’s first and last name (i.e.: “Sandy Marshall, time for an oil change on your Honda CRV”) will be illegal for everyone except realtors and loan officers.

Over-Hyping Social Media Links

Footers on most sales-related dispatches have subtle hyperlinks suggesting, with a degree of subtlety, to click on the company’s corresponding social media account. Under CAWL, not only will irrelevant social networking sites like Google+ be off-limits, but so will use of the phrase “Follow Us on (insert social networking site here).”

Fumbling with Inconsistent Formatting

As Rome’s Dan Brown once said, “The Devil is in the Details.” So goes the importance of consistent fonts, colors and justification. CAWL’s proprietary copy & paste scanning technology will immediately assess a fine for misaligned paragraphs, mismatched header colors, and any footer copy in Times New Roman. Use of the phrase “Oh, and by the way…I love referrals!” will lead to mandatory community service and a 30-day driver’s license suspension.

Though most infarctions carry a $2,000 fine for every instance, sending mass emails via Outlook will supersede CASL and place your company in a newly-defined “Irrelevant” category within Canada Revenue.

Though CAWL has yet to announce an official program launch date, you can prepare by watching MailChimp how-to videos on YouTube or simply picking-up the phone.