Restrictions

Ad restrictions

See the different restrictions we may put on ads

Even though we may have cleared an ad for broadcast, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can be shown at any time of day, or during every kind of programme.

The nature and content of an ad — as well as its subject matter — can affect when it is appropriate for the ad to be shown.

For instance, adverts for alcohol should not be targeted at people who are under 18. As a result, they must not be shown at times of the day when children are likely to be watching TV, or during programmes aimed at children.

When we clear an ad, we will evaluate whether it should be subject to any restrictions on when it is broadcast. These are also called timing restrictions.

If timing restrictions should apply to an ad, we will assign one or more codes to it to describe what restrictions apply.

How restriction codes are made up

We assign timing codes both to ads for normal broadcast (linear), and to video on demand (VoD) ads. Restriction codes for VoD ads are more descriptive because these ads can be watched at any time.

  • Codes are broken into five levels, L1 to L5. These denote the severity of the restrictions.
  • Letters are used to denote the type of content requiring restriction: H for harm, S for sex, V for violence and G for general.

Restriction codes explained

Here’s a full list of our timing and scheduling restriction codes:

Restriction codeWhat it means
AANot to be transmitted in the breaks immediately before, during, or immediately after any children’s programme featuring (names of artists in the commercial)

Applied to all adverts with visual artists to reflect BCAP code rule 32.10.

Includes cartoon and puppet characters.
CYNot to be transmitted during or adjacent to children’s programmes. Includes all programmes commissioned for, directed at or likely to appeal to under-18 audiences.

Often used for adverts with a weight loss or doctrinal message. Also used for dating services of an adult nature.
DCNot to be transmitted during or adjacent to children’s programmes. Includes all programmes commissioned for, directed at or likely to appeal to under-18 audiences.

Not to be transmitted during religious programmes.

Applies to all alcohol adverts.
GGNot to be transmitted during or adjacent to children’s programmes. Includes all programmes commissioned for, directed at or likely to appeal to under-18 audiences.

Not to be transmitted during religious programmes.

Applies to ads for betting, gaming or bingo.
54 GAMINGNot to be transmitted before 21.00.

This restriction relates to a voluntary agreement.

Applies to ads for gaming products and services.
55 BETTINGNot to be transmitted before 21.00.

This restriction relates to a voluntary agreement.

Applies to ads for betting products and services, but does not apply to sports betting around televised sporting events.
59This is a Bingo or Betting ad containing a sign up offer for new customers.

A voluntary agreement exists not schedule these ads before 2100.
PPTo be transmitted at least two hours away from a specific TV programme.

This restriction stops certain products or services being advertised a spin-off from specific TV programmes.

Usually applies to children’s TV programmes.
FH
(for linear ads)
----
VFD
(for VoD ads)
Not to be transmitted during or adjacent to children’s programmes. Includes all programmes commissioned for, directed at or likely to appeal to under-16 audiences.

Applies to ads for products assessed as high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) in accordance with the Food Standards Agency’s definition.
----
VFD lets broadcasters know VoD ad is for any food or soft drink product other than fresh fruit and veg or water.
FL
(for linear ads)
----
VFL
(for VoD ads)
Denotes an ad for food or drink that is not defined as high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS).
----
VFL lets broadcasters know VoD ad is for fresh fruit and veg or water.

These codes do not denote specific timing restrictions, but are used to identify food and drink ads that can be broadcast at any time.
KA
(for linear ads)
----
L1T
(for VoD ads)
Ad for sanitary products or condoms.

Not to be transmitted in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children under 10
KB
(for linear ads)
----
L1H, L1S, L1V
(for VoD ads)
Contains content that might cause physical mental or moral harm to children and/or action that, if emulated, could cause danger or harm to children.

Not to be transmitted in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children under 16

Applies to ads with:

• A risk of emulation, but where there is not a risk of serious harm.
• Mildly scary scenes that may frighten and cause mental harm to very young viewers.
• Mild innuendo or sexual activity such as kissing, or non-sexual nudity.
• Accidental interpersonal violence, or mild interpersonal violence in a historical, comedic or fantasy setting.
KC
(for linear ads)
----
L1G
(for VoD ads)
Ad for [Specific Category (chosen from drop down menu)].

Not to be transmitted in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children under 16.

Categories are:
Lotteries, Football Pools, Equal-chance gaming, Prize gaming, Category D gaming machines, Licensed medicines, vitamins or other dietary supplements, Drinks containing less than 1.2% alcohol, Computer or console game rated 15 or above, Matches, Trailers for films or videos with Certificate 15 or above
TS
(for linear ads)
----
L2H, L2S, L2V
(for VoD ads)
Must only be transmitted after 19.30.

Also includes KB timing restrictions.

Applies to ads with:

• A risk of emulation, where there is risk of harm (although not life-threatening).
• Moderate innuendo or moderate, non-graphic sexual activity, such as nudity in a sexual context.
• Strong but brief interpersonal contact.
• Scenes of threat or horror in the home.
• Morphing or scary faces.
• Brief moderate or strong aggressive behaviour.
• Visuals of injuries, that while not too graphic may be bloody.
TN
(for linear ads)
----
L3H, L3S, L3V
(for VoD ads)
Must only be transmitted after 21.00.

Also includes KB and TS timing restrictions.

Applies to ads with:

• A serious risk of emulation that could result in serious harm.
• Strong (but not overtly graphic) sexual content, including sexual entertainment.
• Open discussion of sex, or strong or crude innuendo.
• Sexual nudity, although not showing nipples, pubic hair or genitalia.
• Strong, repeated interpersonal contact.
• Scenes of threat or horror.
• Aggressive behaviour or visuals of injuries.
• Brief, vague, non-graphic scenes or torture.
• Realistic depictions of crime in a street or urban setting.
TT
(for linear ads)
----
L4H, L4S, L4V
(for VoD ads)
Must only be transmitted after 22.00.

Also includes KB, TS and TN timing restrictions.

Applies to ads with:

• Scenes of graphic harm or fighting.
• Strong, graphic sexual content
• Open discussion of sex
• Sexual nudity
• Crude innuendo
• Repeated scenes of sexual encounters
TL
(for linear ads)
----
L5H, L5S, L5V
(for VoD ads)
Must only be transmitted after 23.00.

Also includes KB, TS, TN and TT timing restrictions.

Applies to ads with:

• The strongest allowable sexual content
• The strongest allowable violent content
• Graphic scenes of injury, torture or suffering
• Realistic, glamorous depictions of crime in a street or urban setting
For more help understanding these codes, please get in touch with your Clearcast contact.

Related information: