If you’re a journalist or blogger looking to speak to or interview someone from Clearcast, please read the information on this page first.
Who runs and funds Clearcast?
We are owned and funded by ITV, Channel 4, Turner and Sky.
What is Clearcast’s core business?
Our core business is to clear TV, teleshopping and video on demand ads so they can be shown and broadcast in the UK. All ads shown on the main UK commercial channels must be approved by us before they can be broadcast.
We ensure that broadcast ads comply with the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code), and that video on demand ads meet the rules of the CAP Code.
For instance, we verify claims that advertisers make in adverts, before those adverts are broadcast.
In 2019 we considered just under 30,000 ad scripts and viewed over 60,000 commercials. With the ASA upholding just 38 complaints.
The UK Advertising Codes against which Clearcast clears ads are determined by two industry committees – the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP). These committees are made up of representatives from advertisers, media owners, agencies and clearance bodies.
Does Clearcast ban ads?
No. We work with ad agencies and advertisers to make sure ads are suitable for broadcast. If we believe an ad breaches the BCAP Code, we will work with the agency or advertiser to change the ad so it can be broadcast.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the regulatory body that deals with complaints about adverts and can decide to take an advert off air.
Why do some advertisers say Clearcast is banning their ad at the last minute?
From time to time advertisers submit ads for approval just before it is due to be broadcast and this can sometimes mean Clearcast don’t have enough time to thoroughly work with the advertiser or agency to address potential issues it may have, either with the ad’s compliance with the BCAP code or any claims that are being made.
For this reason Clearcast are sometimes in a position where they cannot approve an ad, even when the air time’s been booked. In these circumstances Clearcast is not “banning” or “pulling” the ad. It is imperative advertisers and agencies allow enough time for Clearcast to be able to properly consider an ad and the submission of a pre-production script is always strongly advised.
If Clearcast decides not to approve and ad, can the advertiser appeal?
We have an escalation process to help advertisers who are unhappy with our decisions. This escalation process is rarely used (typically we work with advertisers, rather than in a confrontational manner), but ads can be considered by our Copy Committee.
This committee is made up of representatives from the UK’s main commercial broadcasters, observers from the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.
Why is being ‘political’ grounds for not clearing an ad?
Sometimes organisations and charities send us ads that are campaigning for a particular cause, or for a change in government policy. Ads can be considered political by the nature of the advertiser, the creative content or an advertiser’s association with other organisations that are considered political.
The BCAP Code has a section on political advertising, so we cannot clear ads that are in breach of this.
What else does Clearcast do?
We provide many other services to help advertisers create and air great ads. For instance:
- Training in advertising rules
- Advice on ad pitches
- Technical services, like our online flashing test
- International clearance advice
- TV Admin
We also commissioned the CARIA® campaign management system, which is used to book airtime for ads in the UK. And we run the Attribution service, which provides crucial data to help broadcasters, agencies and advertisers analyse TV ads and campaigns.