HFSS Products and Brand Ads

28th June 2017

If you deal with a food account you will no doubt already be aware that the rules around products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) are about to be tightened up. By and large this doesn’t affect TV ads, as there are already strict guidelines in the BCAP code. However as part of the overhaul of the sector rules, BCAP has taken the opportunity to offer clarification on their guidelines on brand HFSS advertising which will affect TV.


HFSS Product Ads

The rules for HFSS product TV ads aren’t changing. If you have an ad for a product which is HFSS then it will receive the relevant scheduling restriction meaning it can’t be broadcast during programmes for, or of particular appeal to, under 16s.


Brand Ads

BCAP’s new guidance features a number of scenarios for what may be considered brand ads for an HFSS product vs brand ads not for an HFSS product, though acknowledges that the list is not exhaustive and is also subject to the exact content and tone of individual ads. We will continue to look at ads on a case by case basis.



An ad which features a brand name that is synonymous with an HFSS product, though it also features on non-HFSS products, is likely to be seen as an HFSS ad.


There may be an ad which refers to or features a product but doesn’t give enough information to the viewer to identify it specifically. In this case if the advertiser is unable to provide evidence that their range of that type of product is mainly non-HFSS then the ad will be considered an HFSS ad.


If a brand ad features a strapline, celebrity, licensed character, brand-generated character or branding strongly associated with a specific HFSS product then the ad will require the HFSS restriction. An ad for a specific non-HFSS product featuring these things may not require the HFSS restriction, so long as the non-HFSS product is not merely incidental.


You can read the full guidance note here.