Ad Tech Tuesday – Shazam

26th April 2016

By Kristoffer Hammer, Head of Business Development, Clearcast


Clearcast is fortunate enough to be approached by tech companies that can help do new and amazing things to audio-visual advertising. Some offer great benefits to advertisers, others amazing experiences for viewers. I offer advice to many companies as to where best to pitch their services and have decided to write this blog series to showcase the transformative power of ad tech.


Shazam – All things searchable by phone?


When it comes to making TV ads interactive, you cannot start anywhere else than with Shazam. Famous for many interactive ads on UK TV over the last 3-4 years, Shazam has opened completely new opportunities to advertisers.


Shazam has even been around from before apps were even invented. At the start, you needed to call a number to let Shazam listen to a song, then they would text you the title and performer. How apps have changed that!


Over the last few months Shazam has  added visual recognition to the app and showcased this at London King’s Cross in December. BMW set up temporary shop at the station with pictures of all BMW models, so that you could use your Shazam app to take a picture of a car, add the options and place the order. It wasn’t clear whether home delivery was included…


The future for apps like Shazam is to make anything audio or visual searchable on your phone. Whether this will happen with one app owning the whole space or making technology available to other apps remains to be seen. Not having to compete with other apps in the app store and instead offering a great white labelled service might be an interesting alternative to the current situation.


One of the main challenges is that viewers wanting to Shazam an ad need to be quick off the mark once the ad is on TV, in order to tag it before it is over. I think this is the main challenge stopping Shazam from growing bigger in the TV market. If I could be in my favourite app during the ad break and still get the Shazam experience – imagine the reach advertisers could get…


There is no question about the influence Shazam has had in driving the use and understanding of second screen as a concept. It has helped define a whole new generation of innovation, but even so, no one else has come close to Shazam’s importance in the market. Having achieved that position, it will be interesting to see how Shazam will be able to build its already impressive reach.


So how does compliance work for Shazamable ads? We will simply check the call to action, in a way very similar to urls in ads – easy.


Read more about Shazam for BMW Retail Online


If you’ve got a question about ad tech, email me here.

A day in the life of… Andrew Taylor

20th April 2016

Welcome back to our feature where you can find out more about the Clearcast team, as well as the people we deal with throughout the industry. Last time, resident fashionista Adam Amini gave us the low down on life at Clearcast, this time it’s… 



Andrew Taylor


Lead IT Administrator


Tell us a bit about your job:

I lead the IT team, we make sure everything from the point the internet enters our building to the time it gets to peoples fingertips works! Basically we look after the servers, network, computers, Wi-Fi, phones, backups, printers, keyboards, mice and everything in between. If it connects to the internet, we fix it. On top of that I’m constantly working on ways to make things work more efficiently by looking into new technologies and trying to integrate them into what we do.


Currently watching:

My wife and I are re-watching Heroes. After Heroes Reborn hit the screens I realised quite how much I’d forgotten about the first run. Other than that we’re big fans of The Big Bang Theory.


Currently listening to:

Techno, lots and lots of Techno… Found a site that had about 10GB of free EP’s so I’m currently working my way through from A – Z, so far it’s been about 2 weeks and I’m only at “L”! I like to do a bit of DJ’ing so finding a big chunk of music like this helps me avoid having to record all my vinyl for the time being; I’m weeding out the not so good tunes!


What’s your commute like?

I’ve got probably one of the furthest in the office; I come from Northamptonshire every day. I spend about an hour on the train and will walk from St. Pancras into work. I’ve found a great route that takes me through a few parks so it can be quite pleasant. The time on the train is either used to get some work done, study or occasionally get some DJ practice in (yeah, I’m that guy in the corner bigging it up, silently…).


It’s 10am on a typical day – what are you up to?

By 10am we’ve checked the backups, made sure all the urgent tickets are either done or scheduled to be done, and we’re on standby to make sure the morning meeting doesn’t have any technical issues. This can be anything from dead batteries in the mouse to “Hi Andy, errr, there’s nothing coming up on the screen.”


What’s your favourite part of your job?

All of it! I get to do pretty much anything someone in IT would get to do, except in most enterprise environments that would be limited to just one area such as network infrastructure or desktop support. At Clearcast if I see a problem at someone’s desk that relates to something on the firewall I can jump on it and get them running straight away without having to raise a ticket with ‘the network team’. Don’t get me wrong, having such responsibility isn’t easy and I get pulled in all directions but that’s just how I roll.


Do you lunch in or out? What’s on the menu today?

Either really, if I’ve got a lot on (like at the minute) I’ll nip up the road, get a sarnie and eat at my desk while turning things off and on again; if not I like to go out for a walk. I’ve been playing on a GPS based game for some time, after a 6 month break I started again recently. Daily I get my 10,000 steps a day in which really goes to show playing computer games isn’t always bad for your health!


How would you describe the culture at Clearcast?

It’s a friendly atmosphere to work in and I’ve never worked at a place with so many social events! Although I’m not directly involved in the copy aspect I get to over-hear a lot of strange one way conversations on the phone, I’ve never worked anywhere else where you’ll hear people discussing everything from toys to tampons!


What do you get up to when you’re not at Clearcast?

I have a wife and 2 kids so it’s generally things based around my family. We like to keep active so going for walks in the country or going swimming are favourites of ours. Last week we built a push kart which was fun and they’ve been playing with their cousins charging down hills on it… My boys are old enough now that we can play a bit of Xbox so we do a bit of that, surprising how good they are, I generally get thrashed!


Other than that I like to produce a bit of music, DJ and I’m currently flipping between coding apps and computer games.

Major new rules for E-cigarettes

13th April 2016


The new regulations are now in place. See CAP’s announcement here. There will be a further consultation and guidance on implementing the rules, so watch this space for more news.



Since filtering on to the market e-cigarettes have proved a very interesting and often contentious product in advertising terms. After a bit of wrangling, a dedicated section of the BCAP code emerged and, armed with a handful of precedents, we’ve been helping advertisers successfully market their products within the regulations.


Things are changing though, quite dramatically and quite soon. On the 20th of May the Department of Health will be implementing the EU Tobacco Products Directive. What this means in practice is that only a select few types of e-cigarette will still be permitted to advertise.


Here’s the major new addition to the prohibited categories section of the BCAP code:


Electronic cigarettes and refill containers or any advertisement which has the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting such a product


There are further details and very limited exceptions.


The main thrust of the rule is to prohibit nicotine-containing e-cigs from advertising unless they have been granted a licence by the MHRA. This covers cartridges, tanks (disposable or refillable), rechargeable and single use e-cigs.


So does this mean e-cigs and liquids which don’t contain nicotine can continue to advertise? There is indeed an exception for non-nicotine containing liquids and refill containers, as well as rechargeable e-cigs which can only be fitted with cartridges filled with non-nicotine containing liquids. However, a rechargeable e-cigarette being advertised with a non-nicotine containing cartridge would still be prohibited if a nicotine cartridge could theoretically be swapped in.


Things get more complicated with the last few words of the rule: ‘indirect effect of promoting such a product.’ Shops or websites which sell all kinds of e-liquids will be caught here, as will sponsorship livery in motorsport ads, for example. It’s this indirect promotion element which looks like it will be the trickiest to navigate.


These are all big changes, but there’s another wrinkle. The Scottish Parliament has passed a bill which contains powers to make regulations to ban the advertising of e-cigarettes that don’t contain nicotine. So we could see a situation where a non-nicotine containing e-cigarette could advertise in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not in Scotland.


We’ll be keeping a close eye on things so follow our Twitter account or check back regularly for updates. You can read Ofcom’s announcement here and CAP’s report on the current state of play here.

May 2016 Bank Holiday Copy Deadlines

12th April 2016

Click the link below for the copy delivery/instruction deadlines that have been agreed between the IPA and the broadcasters for the May bank holidays in 2016. Please bear in mind that, as ever, we will be clearing ads to their air dates rather than play out or copy delivery dates.


May Bank Holidays 2016 Deadlines


For the very latest updates follow us on Twitter.

Gambling Ads and Youth Appeal

11th April 2016

Whether it’s a flutter on the fillies, betting on bingo or cashing out at the casino, gambling ads are a strong presence on UK TV. Unsurprisingly it’s a contentious sector, and just like other hot topics, such as alcohol and HFSS food, there are swathes of rules governing what can and can’t be said. So rather than putting all your money on an unknown quantity, take a look at our pundits’ top tips.


This post will focus on age-related issues – check back or follow us on Twitter for more gambling advice coming soon.


You know… for kids

Gambling ads mustn’t be of particular appeal to under-18s. This is an issue that crops up time and again, as there’s a very fine line between something of more general appeal that also appeals to kids and something that particularly appeals to kids. Take this ruling for Foxy Bingo, for example. The ASA themselves instigated the challenge, but ultimately it wasn’t upheld. The Foxy character may bear some resemblance to characters popular with kids, but his general behaviour was enough to tip the balance away from appealing to youth specifically. Similarly, the setting of the pier and funfair were felt to be appealing to a broad spectrum of ages rather than just under-18s.


On the flip side, the ASA have upheld complaints on this issue. This ruling found that visuals reminiscent of a videogame, coupled with a theme of ‘adventure’ were of particular appeal to kids. So, are videogame style ads verboten? Actually no, not quite. Arcade and videogame style effects were felt to be the right side of the line in this ruling.


So what can we take away from this? Firstly, it’s plainly a highly contentious area within an already contentious sector, so great care is needed. Secondly, context is key; where one visual element in isolation may be fine, working in concert with VO and music could render the overall ad unacceptable.


No more heroes any more

In the run up to Italia ’90 I had one of those sticker albums. I never managed to complete it, and even though I had 3 copies of Ruud Gullit, I refused to swap him. I wanted more. He was brilliant. So was Gazza, but I preferred Ruud (up until that quarter final).


The point is, football is of huge appeal to kids. And so, it follows, are footballers. And because gambling ads can’t be of particular appeal to under 18s, featuring current, top flight footballers isn’t allowed. Top pros in other sports may be acceptable, but it will be best to have an argument up your sleeve ready. And there may be a further wrinkle…

Old enough to know better

Is it just me, or are sports stars getting younger every year? This presents a problem for two reasons:


  1. Hard as it may be to admit it, as a 30-something the likelihood of me becoming a sport star is now pretty remote.
  2. Unfortunately for marketers, no-one who is under 25 may be shown in a significant role in a gambling ad.


This means that a hot new star won’t be fronting a betting company’s ad campaign any time soon – see this non-broadcast ruling against a Twitter ad which featured golfer Jordan Spieth. There is a very limited exception relating to websites, so have a read of CAP’s advice here.


The times (you can show ads) are a-changin’


Under the BCAP code, gambling ads have to be kept away from programmes for, or of particular appeal to, under-18s. This is similar to the rule for alcohol ads. However, the gambling industry have their own code of practice which goes further. Under their code, most gambling ads mustn’t be shown before 9pm. There are limited exceptions – bingo, for example. Also, sports betting ads may be shown during sport pre 9pm.


However, and this is where it gets tricky, if a sports betting or bingo ad features a direct link to a page which features other kinds of gambling, such as casino games, then it may not be shown before 9pm.


With me still? There’s another stipulation, this one a very recent addition. Gambling ads with sign-up offers for new customers mustn’t be shown before 9pm. So a bingo ad proffering ‘£5 free play for new players’ may only be shown post 9pm. Take a look here for more on the latest developments.


It’s a lot to get your head round, and this is just the tip of the iceberg with gambling ads. You can find the full BCAP code section here. The good news is that we have a template to help with substantiating claims in gambling ads, here. We also run training courses focused across the industry.


Jonathan Laury

Communications Executive, Clearcast