YourFilm produces TV adverts for local, regional and national campaigns. Whatever the client, whatever the product or service, the process is essentially the same, in part due to the fairly strict rules and regulations associated with TV advertising in the U.K.
We work with many clients who are new to TV, and often they’re used to the relative freedom which applies to the content of online videos and radio adverts. Helping our clients understand the process of and the regulations behind TV advertising is a crucial part of our creative process.
So, we felt it might be helpful to publish a guide which outlines the processes and timescales involved, as well as the different types of creative styles we work in. First we’ll focus on the clearance process.
A quick disclaimer: certain types of advertiser are subject to industry-specific rules and regulations, for example dating services, gambling and political parties, and we’ll of course always offer tailored advice for your specific requirements. Overall though, the following can be applied to all TV adverts.
The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) publish their code, which exists to protect both viewers from false or misleading claims, and advertisers from complaints. Clearcast are the body who enforce the code up-front, which means they have to approve both the script and the final advert for it be allowed to air on UK commercial TV channels. If an advert hasn’t been cleared by Clearcast, then none of the major broadcasters will accept it.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) handle complaints raised against adverts which have aired, but if the Clearcast process has been handled correctly – by us as well as them! – then this should provide a solid basis to argue against any complaint which might be raised. Complaints are relatively rare, and complaints which are upheld even more infrequent, in our experience. We handle the clearance process for our clients – all you have to do is supply us with substantiation information which supports any claims made in the advert. So for example, if you want to say your product is “Available now, from £99.99 + P&P” or “Product X is the only product which can do Y and Z,” you will need to work with us to prove these points to Clearcast’s satisfaction.
Our process for working with a client to clear a television advert is outlined as follows:
- Any concepts we generate or scripts we write benefit from our years of experience – we won’t pitch an idea for your campaign if we aren’t confident we can get it cleared
- Once we have agreed the creative direction for the advert, we submit our script and substantiating information to Clearcast
- They will examine our submission and then come back with queries and/or requests for further information. Typically it takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the script, for us to work with Clearcast and have them approve our creative
- Once we have created the advert, we submit the edit to Clearcast for their final approval, which typically takes 1-2 days.
Once the final advert is cleared, this means that it complies with the BCAP code, and isn’t expected to be open to criticism or complaint.
Each cleared advert has its own unique ‘clock number’ which is a standardised identifier format which ensures that all broadcasters can easily process and schedule the advert.
Once we’re cleared for broadcast and have a clock number, we can then master the advert for submission to broadcasters. This ensures that the technical aspects of the video are within legal limits for UK broadcast – colours, luminance levels, sound levels, that sort of thing. The broadcasters generally only accept submissions via third-party services such as Peach, which helps keep all advertisers working within the same technical framework.
The typical timescale from us receiving a brief to having the final advert produced, cleared and submitted to the broadcaster is 12 weeks. Of course this can scale up or down, depending on a number of factors, but 3 months is a reasonable benchmark.
In part two of this series, we’ll look at the various creative styles which can be effectively used in the production of TV adverts.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding the process of producing a TV advert.