Need a hand in the run up to Easter?

24th February 2020

Our TV Admin service can manage your UK or international TV advertising clearance, TV/VOD delivery or copy rotations. We know the business of getting your ads where they need to be and fast!

As part of the EASA Network we have unrivalled global contacts in Europe and beyond, so no request is too obscure.

Sound useful? Email Danny Turner or call him on 0207 339 4770.

A happy client said:

“The Business Affairs Team at Clearcast has been instrumental in supporting our projects over many years. I value their advice and their ability to facilitate our approval process with a quick turnaround. A very professional team that I highly recommend.” – Gaelle, Revitive France – February 2020

Get your fashion ads right in 2020

18th February 2020

By Louise Glover and Vicki Ford, Copy Group Executives

This blog has been updated from February 2019.

London Fashion Week is wrapping up this week and once again we’ve enjoyed watching the forward fashion and front rows filled with editors, buyers, trend forecasters and celebrities eager to see the hottest designers showcase their work.

In 2018 London Fashion Week took the decision to become the first of the main fashion weeks to go fur-free. With Amsterdam following suit in 2019, it’s evident that the current climate which surrounds animal cruelty is having an astounding impact on the world of fashion.

As well as the catwalk, the fur-free movement is also influencing advertising. In January 2019 the ASA announced an Enforcement Notice on Misleading ‘Faux Fur’ claims in clothes and accessories which is applicable to all relevant advertisers in the UK across all media, including online and social media.

This enforcement followed two non-broadcast ASA rulings, against UK Ltd and Zacharia Jewellers. Both advertisers claimed they had been told that the fur used wasn’t real but tests showed that the fur was in fact real. The ASA recognised that both advertisers had removed the products from sale following receipt of the complaints but concluded that both ads were misleading and breached the CAP code.

Here at Clearcast, we see lots of fashion and clothing TV ads and in recent years a small proportion of these attracted complaints to the ASA around the themes of the weight of models, sexualisation of young models and objectification.

We’re going to look back at some recent ASA rulings and hope our guidance will help you with any future fashion, makeup or clothing ads you may submit for approval.

Advertisers need to tread carefully when it comes to a model’s BMI/weight in an ad. Even though a model may technically be a ‘healthy’ weight and BMI, the image portrayed in the ad could be considered less so, and therefore deemed socially irresponsible. When looking at a Nasty Gal upheld ruling from June 2018, you’ll notice the ASA pointed out that whilst the female model in question looked to be in proportion, there were specific scenes which drew attention to her slenderness, the stretching of her arms emphasised their slimness and length and a focused shot of her chest highlighted her rib cage. They deemed the ad in breach of BCAP code rule 1.2 (social responsibility).

In February 2019 the ASA announced a ruling for a Bare Minerals VoD ad and chose not to uphold complaints. A viewer challenged the ad as they believed that two of the models featured appeared to be unhealthily thin. Bare Minerals said that the primary focus of the ad was of the models’ faces rather than their bodies and their policy is to feature healthy looking women, not those who are unhealthily thin. The ASA recognised certain scenes where some of the models’ collarbones and angular shoulders were shown but thought  these scenes were brief and the models’ poses did not accentuate these features and therefore concluded that the ad was not in breach.

The ASA  takes a hard line  when it comes to how younger girls are presented in ads. With many brands whose target market are between the ages of 16-25, advertisers use young models who they believe are representative not only of the brand but also of those who purchase the products or follow them on social media. We consider this age group  to be vulnerable and ads should be sensitive to the emotional and physical well-being of young people who may be under pressure to conform to certain body types or physical attributes.

From a Clearcast perspective, when it comes to advertising fashion brands the advertiser should consider the following:

Model’s age: we will always require confirmation that a model is over the age of 18. When assessing ads, the ASA will consider whether models seem to be younger than 18, as well as their real age. So, although you may be using a model who could be in their 20s, a youthful appearance could lead viewers to believe they are 16 or younger.

The clothing, make up and body language of models must be considered. In 2017, Pretty Little Thing had complaints made about two ads, which were upheld because the ASA believed the young-looking girls in the ad had been sexualised. Despite the models being 23 and 24, it was upheld because of the following:

  • The models were engaging in what the ASA considered to be juvenile and mischievous behaviours; swinging off an arch and clambering on top of props. This contributed to the girls appearing to be younger than they were.
  • One of the girls had two high hair buns, doe eyes, long lashes and a very lean frame which gave her a very youthful appearance.
  • The outfits featured, although popular during summer festivals, were body suits exposing buttocks, shorts, bralettes and tight body con dresses. All outfits were tight fitting and revealing.
  • The poses drew attention to their chests and bodies with the models standing with the back towards the camera with their buttocks partially exposed.
  • The facial expressions of the models were often sultry and seductive.

The ASA decided overall that the models were presented as juvenile and mischievous as well as overtly sexual and that the ad breached the BCAP code.  It’s very important to think carefully about the presentation of models when advertising brands that appeal to a young demographic.

An example of TV ad that attracted complaints on the grounds of objectifying women is an ad for Skechers, featuring TV presenter Kelly Brook.  She says, “I like my clothes form fitting, but not my shoes. That is why I wear Skechers knitted footwear. So I look and feel my best. People tend to notice things like that.” As she walks down the road a selection of men can’t stop themselves from looking at her. The ASA concluded that as Kelly Brook isn’t wearing revealing clothing and her behaviour isn’t sexualised, the ad didn’t breach the BCAP code.

Fashion and retail ads are quite rightly under a sharp spotlight to protect vulnerable groups. The progressive gender stereotyping rule changes came into play last summer, preventing harmful gender stereotyping in ads and reinforcing messages mentioned in this blog, helping to shine a light on these types of ads and the potential harm they can cause in the short and long term.

CopyCentral Upgrade

17th February 2020

CopyCentral will be down for maintenance this weekend while we perform a major upgrade.

The system will be unavailable from 7pm Friday 21st until 8am Monday 24th February.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused and for regular system updates keep an eye on our Twitter and the CopyCentral status page.

Easter Deadlines 2020

11th February 2020

We now have the copy delivery, instruction and approval timetable which has been agreed by Channel 4, ITV, Sky and Turner for the 2020 Easter period.

For VoD campaigns running between 9th – 14th April all copy, rotations, tracking tags, copy changes & approval need to be received by 2nd April.

AirdateCopy Instructions By Copy Delivery By Copy Approved By
Monday 6th April1st April1st April1st April
Tuesday 7th April2nd April2nd April2nd April
Wednesday 8th April3rd April3rd April3rd April
Thursday 9th April6th April6th April6th April
**Friday 10th April7th April7th April7th April
Saturday 11th April8th April8th April8th April
Sunday 12th April8th April8th April8th April
**Monday 13th April8th April8th April8th April
Tuesday 14th April8th April8th April8th April

** Bank Holiday – Clearcast Closed

To comply with these deadlines please ensure additional time is factored in for Clearcast approval.

Approval should be before or by the delivery date, please be aware that two clear working days are required for video approval and we always advise you leave at least two weeks for full clearance.

Film Trailer ads and their timing restrictions

10th February 2020

Vicki Ford, Copy Group Executive

It’s been an exciting awards season, culminating in an Oscars ceremony last night which saw veteran Brad Pitt win his first ever statuette for best supporting actor and South-Korean thriller Parasite become the first non-English language movie to win best picture.

It won’t come as a surprise that we’ve been thinking about the wonderful world of films and how agencies might need to tailor their very violent, chaotically controversial or super saucy film trailers to ensure they’re appropriate for TV. After all, awards season may be over for now, but the films will keep coming.

Viewers sometimes complain to The ASA that movie trailer ads containing adult themes, acts of violence or sexual activity haven’t been appropriately scheduled. So, it’s crucial we get the timing and scheduling restrictions of your film trailer ads spot on to help ensure that once they’re on air, they stay there.

Below is a run through of what sort of content attracts the main restrictions in film trailer ads and some associated ASA rulings to add some context.

First things first – BBFC Certs.

If the film you’re advertising is a certificate 12 and contains no content requiring additional restrictions, we will add a presentation code (32) advising broadcasters to look at the ad to decide if they think it needs to be kept away from their programmes aimed at under 10s. Ads for all films with certificates of 15 and above will be assigned an ex-kids restriction; this is a scheduling rule in the Code and makes sure the ads aren’t shown within children’s programming aimed at under 16s. Creative content, may warrant additional restrictions as outlined below.

Horror, gore and violence

Violence, blood, gore, suspense…if any of these feature in your trailers, we will decide what scenes will mean the ad is given a higher timing restriction or even be deemed entirely unacceptable for broadcast.

This ASA ruling for The Snowman said there was no respite from distressing imagery, escalating fear and tone and pushed a post-19:30 timing restriction for the ad to a post-21:00.

If the ad is a certificate 15 or 18 but features children, the ASA draw a hard line on the fact that this will likely attract young viewers. Such as this ruling for The Conjuring.

“…the inclusion of a child on a garden swing at the beginning of the ad was highly likely to gain a child’s initial attention. We also considered that the on-screen press review text, while warning adult viewers as to the nature of the film and likely content of the ad, was unlikely to stop a child from continuing to watch the rest of the ad.”

It is likely that an ad for a horror film for example, is going to distress young audiences, so if you are trying to get your ad on day time tv, toning everything down will be necessary.

All trailers are viewed on a case-by-case basis and individual scenes are subject to different restrictions depending on what is surrounding them.

Ex-Kids – KB

“Content that might cause physical, mental or moral harm to children and/or actions that if emulated could cause danger or harm to children. Risk that emulation may result, but not considered to be a risk of serious harm and/or mild scary scenes that may frighten and so cause mental harm to very young viewers.”

If your ad has interpersonal violence or scenes that a child might find distressing, chances are it will get a KB, which means it can’t be shown around programmes aimed at kids. Any actors with blood on them can cause distress so head-wounds or bloodied clothes should also be removed if you want to avoid that KB restriction.

We all know how easily influenced little people can be, especially when they see their favourite superheroes or teenage crushes saving the day on the big screen. So small actions like shoving someone, climbing trees or playing a prank on an adult might also need to be removed to avoid a KB restriction.

If you still want to include some of the above you can do so but there is a fine line between what is considered Ex-kids (KB) and post-19:30 – TS (see below).

Post 19:30 – TS

“Interpersonal contact may be strong but brief. Moderate or strong, but brief, aggressive behaviour. Visuals of injuries, which aren’t too graphic but may be bloody.”

Trailers that feature relentless violence tend to receive the TS restriction. We also apply this when we see gunshots impact and gruesome flesh-wounds.

Post 21:00 – TN

“Strong and repeated violence. For example, scenes of threat and/or horror. Aggressive behaviour or visuals of injuries, brief scenes of torture.”

The most popular restriction amongst the horror genre. Scenes featured include meaty headbutts, gunshots to the head, drug use, body drags, blood curdling screams and those jumpy scenes that come out of nowhere.

Post 22:00 – TT “Very Strong, relentless and graphic violence” and

Post 23:00 – TLStrongest violent content allowable. Extremely violent, multiple scenes of contact. Graphic scenes of injury e.g. of torture and suffering. Realistic or urban crime, particularly that which might be considered to glamourise such behaviour

It’s rare, but sometimes we receive ads for movie trailers which need an even later timing restriction than post 21:00 or stricter scheduling restriction than TN, for example when content is very graphic and along the line of action in a slasher-type movie. In this instance the ad will receive a restriction meaning it can’t be shown until after 22:00 or 23:00, depending on the severity of the content.

Sex and nudity

Just the mention of sex in conversations gets an ex-kids restriction so this is worth considering if your trailer is a bit on the saucy side. Full frontal nudity is unacceptable but you’re allowed to have a cheeky buttock or side boob which will attract a timing restriction depending on how much is shown and the context. If they are not too graphic, most sex scenes receive restrictions above ex-kids.

F*!%, S*&t etc…

There are always new words and derogatory expressions that come from popular culture that we try and stay on top of. To give you an indication of how thorough we are, the use of the word “bitch” currently has four different interpretations, all with different restrictions… So, if in doubt, ask your Clearcast exec who can consult our appropriately titled ‘S*^% list’ to tell you what timing restriction various words will attract. Deleted expletives like “mother f***er” aren’t going to be acceptable.

We hope this blog has given you a useful introduction to the steps you’ll need to take to get your film trailer ads on air at the times you need, but if you have any more questions your Clearcast Copy Exec will always be happy to advise you further.

Channel 4 requires HD playout for HGTV & Really channels

07th February 2020

Until November 2019 Channel 4 and partners have only been able to accept delivery of adverts and sponsorship in standard definition (SD) to playout.

From November last year channels HGTV (formerly Home) and Really moved playout destinations and as part of this move now only accept adverts and sponsorship in high definition (HD).

Therefore Channel 4 would like to remind agencies that if you have a campaign running across their channels, you will need to ensure that orders are placed with Adstream and Peach to cover HD and SD formats.

If you have any queries on this or need additional support, please email