UPDATED: Italian-Montrealers upset over Réno-Dépôt billboards

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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.

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  1. Kathy posted on 03/10/2014 05:10 PM
    As a proud and honest Italian I will boycot Reno Depot! All Italians should do the same!
  2. George73 posted on 03/10/2014 05:36 PM
    Reno/Rona that at all costs must remain a Quebec company. No worries there. Their obvious failure to anticipate the backlash such an advertising compaign suggests a rather inept management that would unlikely survive in the real world without interference from the Quebec political class
  3. Maria posted on 03/10/2014 06:32 PM
    I am tired of hearing about the slurs on ethnic community.....the Quebecker forget that they too were immigrants to this country and that France shipped a whole lot of the here.....we could live in a harmonious province if only they would reflect on the past and try to make the future a better place for all of us.
    I would hate to see this wonderful province go to.......
  4. Nico posted on 03/11/2014 02:45 PM
    As a proud Canadian of Italian decent, I find the tag lines hilarious! I love them. Why can we not laugh at ourselves sometimes guys? Geez, always so serious.... Its funny, leave it at that...I mean, come on...
    1. Dave posted on 03/12/2014 11:51 PM
      @Nico You're absolutely right, Nico!
      The complainers need to get over themselves.
  5. Olga Palazzo posted on 03/11/2014 03:23 PM
    With this odious campaign Reno Depot is feeding into the ever-growing environment of "angrophobia" brewing in "Everyone's Belle Province". How unfortunate it is that this reputable company did not have the foresight to realize that such an add would insult a sizeable sector of its clientele--the Italians? A great percentage of Canadian-Italian-Quebecrs are homeowners and are not on the Charbonneau list . They take pride in renovating and beautifying their homes which allow companies like Reno to prosper and flourish in Quebec. None of us are entertained by the disgusting innuendoes suggested by the add. Reno Depot, COUNT US OUT!
    Et en passant, Videotron aussi….
  6. Gabriel posted on 03/11/2014 07:44 PM
    Maybe I'm reading this all wrong, but I don't get the Anglophobia or the racist slur, is it on the billboard pictures? And the part about the religions neither, please comment my post to enlighten me!
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