In the UK, broadcasters aren’t allowed to show ads that are misleading, harmful or offensive.
So before ads are shown, we check them against the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code), which sets out what is and isn’t permitted.
Clearcast live and breathe advertising; in a typical year, our team watches more than 65,000 ads. We satisfy ourselves that every ad that we pass for broadcast meets the rules, will not cause harm or widespread offence, and has claims that can be substantiated. We also put restrictions on ads, for example not allowing them in programmes aimed at kids or limiting them to later in the evening.
We work for and on behalf of the UK broadcasters and much of the information that informs our decisions is submitted by advertisers on a confidential basis; as a result we are unable to discuss ad clearance decisions and complaints with the public.
If you want to complain about an advert you’ve seen on TV, please contact the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) who have the power to investigate adverts and rule on whether we’ve made the right decision. When they receive complaints they decide whether they merit further investigation and, in the case of TV ads, will contact Clearcast to hear our rationale for why we cleared them. The ASA will then make a ruling on the complaints and publish their decision along with a summary of submissions they have received from the relevant advertiser and Clearcast.