Easter Deadlines 2017

27th February 2017

The below document outlines the copy delivery/instruction deadlines that have been agreed by broadcasters for the 2017 Easter period.


Easter 2017 Deadlines


We hope it’s useful. Please bear in mind we will, as ever, be prioritising ads by their air date, not play out or copy delivery date. Make sure you get copy in nice and early to avoid any issues. Follow us on Twitter for the latest on all things Clearcast.

Clearance Stats For 2016

15th February 2017

Every year we take a look back at the clearance facts and figures to see how we’ve compared to previous years. In 2016 we considered more than 32,500 scripts and 66,500 films. The script figures are barely changed from the previous year when we considered 33,000 scripts, while the film total is slightly down on 2015’s 68,500.


As ever, only a tiny portion of the ads we cleared were the subject of either a viewer challenge or a formal upheld ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority. In 2016 there were 89 formal investigations resulting in 52 upheld rulings. The ASA’s list of the top ten most complained-about ads of the year featured nine TV ads, none of which were the subject of upheld rulings.


Our aim is to provide a response on 85% of scripts within 4 working days and on 95% of videos within 2 working days. We’re proud to reveal that we hit our targets last year. Not only that but in the fourth quarter of the year, including the busy build up to Christmas, we smashed our targets by feeding back on 96.5% of scripts within four days and 97.4% of films within two.

Alternative Facts in Advertising

13th February 2017

It’s only February, but already ‘Alternative Facts’ is set to be the phrase of the year. It’s generally being used as a euphemism for a flat-out lie but this piece is, unsurprisingly, not going to delve into political debates on either side of the pond. The concept of facts as being static, carved-in-stone things is an appealing one. Anyone who works with the nuance of language however knows different – that includes those in advertising and even the glamourous world of ad compliance.


Many moons ago I spent an enjoyable summer working as a London tour guide on an open-top double-decker bus. We went on the standard route around the top historic monuments in central London, including the Monument to the Great Fire of London. Along with the general history of the fire and that if the monument were to topple over then the flame would land square on the spot in Pudding Lane where the fire broke out, there was one other fact that I passed on to punters:


“This is the tallest freestanding stone column in the world.”


Not the tallest column, or tallest freestanding column. Freestanding. Stone. Column.


All the tourists looked suitably impressed, but ask any of them a few moments later what was special about the monument and any word after ‘tallest’ would be forgotten. A completely factual description left everyone present thinking it was somehow the tallest monument in the world. A fact became an alternative fact.


Here’s another example. Say you’re advertising a music speaker. Perhaps you want to really set it apart from similar products in some way, give it a bit of va va voom. You might have some robust data that shows it’s joint number one in terms of how loud it goes. Here’s your proposed tagline:


‘The loudest speaker available.’


And that’s true, isn’t it? It’s joint number one, which means it’s loudest, along with a few competitors. Sort-of true then. As near as dammit.


But if it’s sort-of true, it’s also sort-of not true. And that’s going to be a problem. So how about changing it to ‘The joint-loudest speaker available.’


It’s not a great line is it? How do you make the product sound better without misleading?


‘No speaker goes louder.’


There it is. Completely true and yet still manages to separate your speaker from the competition. A fact has become an alternative fact. Of course there’s nothing stopping your competitors making the same claim, assuming they have the right data, but that’s a worry for another day.


The difference between nuanced wording and an unsubstantiated claim is vast, but it seems like this could be the year where, outside of advertising, those things start to merge. Within the industry it’s talented copywriters, our interpretation of the Code and the robust self-regulatory system that have helped to keep facts factual, even when they’re ‘alternative’. Let’s keep up the hard work.


Jonathan Laury, Communications Executive