Code of Reader & Advertiser Engagement

Reader studies consistently indicate that editorial and advertising are equally important parts of the reader experience and that a clear distinction between the two, free from ambiguity, is vital. Readers expect that magazine content will educate, entertain and inspire confidence in products and services wherever and however they engage with their favourite magazine brands. Canada’s magazine media are committed to delivering the best possible reading and advertising experience and believes that:

  • Magazine readers are entitled to unbiased, accurate reporting and information
  • Magazine advertisers are entitled to a trusting and engaged audience
  • The separation of editorial content and advertising messages must be transparent to the reader
  • Editorial integrity must be free of compromise or external influence

The following guidelines were developed by a Magazines Canada national task force as a tool for editors and advertising sales teams to achieve business activity goals while retaining reader confidence and commitment.

Part I: Advertisements

An advertisement is content paid for by an advertiser to promote its products or services. Such content may appear as a single page, double-page spread, fractional configuration, insert or onsert. Special advertising sections are addressed separately in these guidelines.


Any advertisement that contains text or design elements that have an editorial appearance must be conspicuously identified with the word “advertising’’ or “advertisement.”


The layout and design of advertisements should be entirely different from the publication’s normal layout and design.


No advertisement may be promoted on the cover of the magazine or included in the editorial table of contents, unless it involves an editorially directed contest, promotion or sponsored one-off editorial extra (see “Sponsorship”).


The magazine’s name or logo should not appear in advertisements, unless the advertisements are for the magazine and/or its promotions (or the advertised product has previously received an editorial award or review from the magazine). Similarly, the magazine’s name or logo may appear in a third-party advertisement for a promotion, contest or event in which the magazine is a sponsor, partner or participant. Advertiser logos should not appear on editorial pages, except in a journalistic context, including editorial-driven contests, promotions or sponsored one-off editorial extras (see “Sponsorship”).


Advertisements should not be placed immediately before, within or immediately after editorial content that includes mention of the advertised products or services. Exceptions are allowed for listings and contests, as well as multiple-source articles that quote representatives from companies that have placed advertisements; wherever possible, efforts should be made to distance the advertisements from the comments. There must be no promise of editorial mention in exchange for securing advertisements.

Product Placement

No advertiser may purchase product placement or mention in editorial pages, photographs or illustrations.


An advertiser’s name or logo may not be used to suggest advertising sponsorship of any regularly appearing editorial. Nor shall any regularly appearing editorial be labelled as “sponsored” (or “brought to you by” or any other variation thereof) by an advertiser. Sponsorship language may only be used with one-off editorial extras, such as special features, sections, contests, stand-alone brand extensions, inserts and onserts, provided the editorial content of the editorial extra does not mention or endorse the advertiser (and the advertiser does not have input in the creation of the editorial). Sponsorship language may also be used for annual awards programs and rankings.

Part II: Special Advertising Sections

A special advertising section is a set of advertising pages unified by a theme, accompanied by editoriallike text. To avoid potential conflicts or overlaps with editorial content, publishers should notify editors well in advance of their plans to run special advertising sections.


Each text page or spread in a special advertising section must be conspicuously identified as advertising, using phrases containing the words “advertisement,” “advertising” or “promotion.”


The layout and design of such a section should be entirely different from the publication’s normal layout and design.


No special advertising section may be promoted on the publication’s cover or included in the editorial table of contents.


The publication’s name or logo should not appear in the headlines, text or folios of such a section (unless the advertised product has received an editorial award from the magazine). A line such as “As published in [magazine name here]” may appear on the first page or cover of the advertising section to accommodate overrun opportunities.


The names, titles, bylines and/or pictures/headshots of regular, full-time editorial staff should not appear in or be associated with such special advertising sections. Nor should their names, bylines and/or pictures/headshots be associated with third-party inserts in their magazine. In topics and fields that they cover editorially in their magazine, staff should not be associated with contract magazines published by their magazine company, by advertisers themselves or by third parties such as contract publishers. Exceptions can be made for art staff desiring to improve the appearance of a special advertising section to better suit their magazine’s environment.

From Magazines Canada