RECOGNITION OF ADVERTISING

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Notes of Guidance

2. Recognition of advertising

Background
The rules on recognition of advertising must be read in conjunction with all other parts of the Code, including Section 32: Scheduling of Advertisements. Other sections of the Code contain product specific or audience-specific rules that are intended to protect consumers from misleading marketing communications. For example, "Section 5: Children” contains rules that apply, as well as the general rules, to advertisements that fall under that section.

The Ofcom Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, for both television and radio, contain rules for sponsorship and commercial references that are relevant to this section.

Unless otherwise stated, all the rules in this section apply to programme promotions.

Definitions
“Programme” is a programme on any UK television or radio service.

“Editorial content” in this section applies to programmes on any UK television or radio service and – in rule 2.1 – to editorial content on television text services and interactive television services.

For television only: “Programme promotion” is a trailer for a programme. It is not an ad if it is shown on the channel on which the programme will be broadcast or on a channel related to the channel on which the programme will be broadcast.

Rules

2.1 Advertisements must be obviously distinguishable from editorial content, especially if they use a situation, performance or style reminiscent of editorial content, to prevent the audience being confused between the two. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an ad.

CLEARCAST GUIDANCE
If it believes there is a possibility of confusion between editorial and advertising content, Clearcast may require the inclusion of branding and/or logos or super-imposed text (a super) stating “advertisement”.

The ASA has ruled on this issue. The ruling can be found here

2.2 If used in an advertisement, an expression or sound effect associated with news bulletins or public service announcements (for example, “news flash”) needs special care. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an advertisement.

CLEARCAST GUIDANCE
Ads featuring ‘news flash’ or ‘breaking news’ style footage should not resemble too closely well-known news or current affairs programming. Care is needed to ensure visuals do not include recognisable graphical or editorial features which could be mistaken for live news broadcasts. The inclusion of an “ad” super may be enough to overcome this.

If advertisements resemble programming Clearcast may assign a scheduling restriction to ensure they don’t appear first or last in an ad break. This scheduling reduces any likelihood of confusion.

If advertisements feature ‘news flash’ style elements Clearcast may assign a restriction to prevent them from being scheduled in or around news programmes.

These scheduling restrictions along with all other restrictions for TV advertisements can be found in Appendix 4 of this guidance.

The ASA has ruled on this issue. The ruling can be found here

2.3 The use of a title, logo, set or music associated with a programme that is broadcast on that medium needs special care. The audience should quickly recognise the message as an advertisement.

CLEARCAST GUIDANCE
Advertisers should seek permission to use a title, logo, set or music associated with specific programmes.

When selling merchandise based on a children’s programme or featuring recognisable presenters or characters from children’s shows, advertisers should be aware of the scheduling restrictions listed under BCAP 32.8-32.11.

2.4 Television only – Television advertisements, except for programme promotions, must not:

  1. 2.4.1 refer to themselves in a way that might lead viewers to believe they are watching a programme

  1. 2.4.2 feature, visually or orally, anyone who currently and regularly presents news or current affairs on television

CLEARCAST GUIDANCE
Former newscasters may be featured in advertisements provided they haven’t presented a news or current affairs programme in the previous six months.

The ASA has ruled on this issue. The ruling can be found here

  1. 2.4.3 include extracts from broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings.

2.5 Radio only – A person who currently and regularly reads the news on radio or television may voice radio advertisements but must not advertise products or services that are likely to be seen to compromise the impartiality of their news-reading role.