An edgy campaign for Réno-Dépôt that riffs on the corruption stories coming out of the Charbonneau Commission has proven too edgy for some members of Montreal’s Italian community who say the taglines are defamatory.
"You can increase the price of your bill yourself" and "Tony doesn't think we're charging enough,” are two of the taglines on the six Réno-Dépôt billboards on buses and alongside highways across the city.
Sid Lee, the company behind the campaign, says the billboards were inspired by the Charbonneau Commission and were designed to get a reaction.
“It seems to be some sort of ethnic slur towards corruption in the construction industry and how Italians are over pricing stuff, it’s not something that belongs on a corporate ad,” a Montrealer of Italian origin, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
He said he feels religious minorities are being targeted since the Parti Québécois tabled its Charter of Values.
“It’s one thing when it comes from a separatist government but when it starts to spill over into the corporate community, it's very negative and unfortunate.”
Antonio Sciascia, President of the Canadian Italian Anti-Defamation Committee, told CJAD he received numerous complaints and would be sending a letter to Réno-Dépôt.
Réno-Dépôt told CJAD the billboards should be removed Monday, a few days earlier than planned.