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Legal aspects of TV and Radio advertising

Legal aspects of TV and Radio advertising

If you want to create a TV or radio advertisement, you need to stick to certain rules on a range of matters, from age appropriateness to considerations about potential offence which might be caused. 

The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) is enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which has the power to ban or request changes to be made to any adverts which breach the rules. Important sections of the BCAP Code include the following: 

Any claims made about products must be true and benefits should not be exaggerated.

Any important information which would be likely to cause a consumer to make a decision about whether or not to purchase goods or services should be stated clearly and unambiguously.

Adverts which are broadcast on radio or TV  must not mislead or cause serious or widespread offence, and must not cause any physical, mental or moral harm to children or the vulnerable.  

Advertising which could be deemed inappropriate for younger viewers should be scheduled accordingly, such as post-watershed.

Adverts for medical products or which involve health claims are subject to particularly high levels of scrutiny and it’s vital that any such claims can be backed up with sufficient scientific evidence. Medical products need to have been approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies. There are also special rules about advertising of food, food supplements, nutrition and weight control.

There are also sections of the BCAP Code relating to financial products, faith and religion, charities, gambling, lotteries, alcohol, motoring, pornography, dating services, electronic cigarettes, and other topics.     

Pricing also needs to be accurate and should take into account the Guide for Traders on Pricing Practices (2018) produced by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute which you can see here

If in doubt about any BCAP Code requirements, it is worth consulting with a clearing organisation (see below on advert clearing).

For the full BCAP Code click here.

If your marketing exercise involves product placement in TV or radio shows, it will need to pass certain requirements under the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Furthermore, you’ll need to seek clearance from the Radiocentre here for radio adverts and Clearcast here for TV advertising. 

If you are advertising goods or services, you should make sure your terms and conditions are consistent with any marketing materials.

A variety of Ts and Cs for sales of goods or services by different types of business can be downloaded from our Business Documents Folder. Click on any heading under "Related Documents" below for further information.

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