E-Cigarette ads – The Clear View

29th April 2015

The clearance of e-cigarette advertising has been one of the biggest compliance challenges for Clearcast in recent years.


Today the ASA have upheld complaints made about an ad for Mirage e-cigarettes and we’ve posted a blog which we hope will help e-cig advertisers with future campaigns.



The Clear View: VIP and Mirage E-cigarettes

29th April 2015

The clearance of e-cigarette advertising has been one of the biggest compliance challenges for Clearcast in recent years. When the products were first advertised the BCAP code did not contain any specific rules for us to check scripts against, so we cleared those first ads against the rules which prohibit tobacco advertising. This was very restrictive for e-cig advertisers and meant that they were often prohibited from showing their products because they were likely to make an association in the viewer’s mind with a tobacco product and therefore inadvertently promote tobacco products.


The publishing of the new BCAP code rules on e-cigs opened up the possibility of showing the products in use and speaking about them in less restricted terms, but the new rules reiterated that e-cig ads must not promote the use of tobacco products. So under these new regulations we approved our first ads showing the products in use. Complaints were made to the ASA about an ad for VIP E-cigarettes, which showed a seductive woman inhaling and exhaling vapour in close-up. The ASA upheld the complaint on the basis that it had created a ‘strong association with traditional tobacco smoking and presented it, as the central focus of the ads, in a sultry and glamourous way’.


In light of this ruling we advised another advertiser, Mirage, to amend their recently approved ad which also showed a couple vaping ‘as the central focus of the ads, in a sultry and glamorous way’ and was therefore in breach of the rules. We were satisfied that the changes made by Mirage brought the ad into line as they had removed all the shots of the  couple inhaling and exhaling vapour, which was the feature highlighted by the ASA in the VIP ruling as causing an association with smoking.


Complaints on this updated Mirage ad were investigated by the ASA and this week they have been upheld on the basis that they ‘created a strong association with traditional tobacco and presented it as the central focus, in a sultry and glamorous, and therefore positive way.’ A familiar stance but this time the main concern for the ASA was the amount of heavy vapour featured in the ad, which they considered had the appearance of tobacco smoke.


So where are we now? Well given the two recent rulings we have a clearer idea about what the ASA do not want to see in e-cigarette ads. Our advice is not to make ads which focus mainly on people vaping or on the vapour itself and to avoid anything that may be construed as glamorising e-cigarettes, that may otherwise create a positive association with tobacco products and that may suggest that non-smokers or lapsed smokers should try the products. Some may argue that the inherent similarity between e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes makes it impossible to show the former without creating an association with the latter. However, given the BCAP code says you can show e-cigs we have to try to walk the fine line between ads that legitimately promote e-cigs and those that also indirectly promote tobacco products.



By Seb Lynch, Copy Development Manager

May 2015 Bank Holiday Copy Deadlines

10th April 2015

Joint UK Broadcasters –  2015 May Bank Holidays



Copy & Instructions Delivery Timetable



Early May Bank Holiday


Airdate                            Copy Instructions By           Copy Delivery By

Tues 28th April                 23rd April                               23rd April

Wed 29th April                  24th April                               24th April

Thurs 30th April                27th April                                27th April

Fri 1st May                        28th April                               28th April

Sat 2nd May                     29th April                               29th April

Sun 3rd May                      29th April                               29th April

Mon 4th May**                   29th April                               29th April

Tues 5th May                    29th April                               29th April



Spring Bank Holiday


Airdate                           Copy Instructions By            Copy Delivery By

Tues 19th May               14th May                                    14th May

Wed 20th May                15th May                                    15th May

Thur 21st May                18th May                                     18th May

Fri 22nd May                  19th May                                     19th May

Sat 23rd May                  20th May                                     20th May

Sun 24th May                 20th May                                      20th May

Mon 25th May**             20th May                                       20th May

Tues 26th May               20th May                                      20th May


** Bank holiday


Copy Instructions should be supplied at least 2 clear working days before transmission.


Copy should be delivered at least 2 clear working days before transmission to avoid a late delivery surcharge.


Standard VoD campaigns between 27th April  – 5th May, copy, rotations & tracking tags by 24th April.


Standard VoD campaigns between 18th May  – 26th May, copy, rotations & tracking tags by 15th May.


These deadlines have been agreed by: ITV, Sky Media, Channel 4, Channel 5 & Turner Broadcasting.


Agencies with clients for whom the indicated deadlines cannot be met should contact individual broadcasters to obtain their agreement.  To comply with these deadlines please ensure additional time is factored in for Clearcast approval.