Legal Supers - Our helpful tools
"Supers" is the term applied to text superimposed onto ads to provide additional information, usually because it is required to be there for legal or regulatory purposes (the "small print" or "legal text").
The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have produced a guidance note on the requirements around on screen text or "supers".
We have created some useful apps that will help you get your supers right first time that you will find below and there is much more info on this page telling you what to look out for.
Height of Text
Text size is the vertical height of the text measured in terms of the number of television lines it occupies. We have developed a Test Card which helps you easily see if your supers are the right height.
Is your ad’s small print big enough?
Check with our test card:
Use test card
For ease of reference, here are the minimum height guidelines set by BCAP.
|4:3 aspect ratio Standard Definition (SDTV||16:9 aspect ratio SDTV||16:9 aspect ratio HDTV|
|Preferred minimum text height||14 lines||16 lines||30 lines|
|Minimum text height (when on opaque single coloured block with margin around text)||12 lines||14 lines||26 lines|
Duration of Hold
All text on screen at any one time must be held for a duration calculated at 0.2 seconds per word. An additional recognition period of 2 seconds (up to and including 9 words) or 3 seconds (10 words or greater) is also added. You will find a break down of this guidance at the bottom of this page, but you might find it easier to use our app.
Do you need help calculating how long to display your legal supers?
Identification of Text
Any text that Clearcast considers material to the acceptability of the advertisement as a whole is subject to the full force of the Guidelines. This includes text on screen which is there to fulfil legal obligations or to convey information a viewer needs so as to have a proper understanding of the offer. Text which might strike a viewer as conveying important information is also taken into account.
Where text provides only marginal information or makes no discernible contribution to the overall understanding of the advertisement and, providing it was the only text on screen, Clearcast will not normally apply the Guidelines. Brand names are not included in the calculation of duration of hold.
Length of Text
Large blocks of text are likely to deter a viewer from even attempting to read the contents. As a rule of thumb any text that takes up more than three full-length lines is likely to require higher than the minimum standards for both size and duration of hold.
In such cases the ASA and BCAP may require a minimum size of at least 16 lines and a hold duration of at least 4 words per second in addition to the recognition period. Placing the text on a mono-coloured block might be an alternative or additional remedy in cases where the type of background did not already indicate this.
Abbreviations count as one word each. Postcodes count as two words.
The audio content will normally have no effect on the calculation of the size and duration of text.
Position of Text
Text that is intended to qualify an offer or claim must appear on screen at the same time as the offer or claim is made.
Where the end of one block of text overlaps with the start of another then the duration for each block is calculated independently of the other.
The underlying concept of the guidelines is basic consumer protection and where the overall message is generally clear and legible then Clearcast is prepared to be flexible within the parameters of the advice given by the ASA. In other words, our position is one of proportional and common sense judgement rather than slavish adherence to the letter of the rule.
Calculating Duration of Hold
Guidance for calculating duration of hold can be found below. Alternatively, you can use our duration of hold calculator
‘Short’ (9 words or less) captions: 0.2 seconds per word + 2 seconds recognition time. Number of words/duration in seconds, inclusive of recognition time.
1 words/2.2 seconds duration
‘Long’ (10 words or more) captions: 0.2 seconds per word + 3 seconds recognition time.