Its TV Commercial Substantiation Day at Concept TV!

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It’s “Substantiation Day” at Concept TV today!  So below, our expert shares some of our techniques and explains how it all works.

So, we’re busy pulling together all the research collected over the last few months into a full television advertising script report, and we thought you might like to know how broadcast compliance works.  So below, our Clearcast TV Advertising Compliance expert explains how we navigate the UK’s most regulated advertising medium.

Can you make a TV Commercial and broadcast it, similar to press advertising? Or do TV Adverts have to be approved before they are transmitted?

Unless the TV Channel handles their own compliance (none of the major ones do – in fact only a small handful do), every TV Commercial must be pre-approved for broadcast.

With every TV Commercial that is broadcast on TV in the UK, it has to be supported with a complete set of documentation proving each and every claim or visual.  If Clearcast, (the clearance authority) and their consultants, agree that the substantiation proves the claims you want to make in your TV Commercial, then your “clock number” is approved for broadcast.

Here’s a list of typical TV Advertising Script Claims that are more complicated than they seem:

“We’re number 1”

“(anything) FREE!”

“We’re the cheapest”

“We’re the best” or “We’re better than the rest”

“Lifetime Guarantee”

“A Quick Spray to Remove Mould”


Whilst those claims seem fairly standard in print or on a shop-front display, TV’s influential nature means broadcasters have to be very careful.  Likewise, two TV Advertising Clients couldn’t claim to both be “Number 1”, it would undermine consumer confidence in TV Commercial Advertising.

Here’s some free script / copywriting advice for you.  Instead of the unattainable claim “we are the cheapest”, you could instead run with “…the lowest price, we’ll give you the difference back!”.  Now, so long as you can prove you have reasonable grounds to assume you are the cheapest (competitor references, identical offering), and you have the where-with-all to back up your money-back guarantee, you should achieve Clearcast Approval.

Why is it essential to have a Clearcast Approved Clock Number before broadcasting?

Clearcast represent the broadcasters – who in turn have an obligation under their broadcasting license (issued by OFCOM) to ensure that anything they transmit is legal, decent, honest and does not mislead the consumer.  Broadcasters stand to lose badly if the don’t fully comply with these rules.  Penalties for non compliance include being fined substantial sums of money and they even risk losing their license to broadcast all together.  Why is compliance so important?  Because TV is considered to be one of the most powerful and influential mediums in the world!

What are some of the aspects of Concept TV’s Broadcast Compliance work?

  • Conduct further detailed research into the products performance, consumer reviews and competitor products (and their advertising copywriting),
  • Designing, Commissioning of controlled Product Tests, with final Report Generation,
  • Contacting industry peers for review,
  • Linking up the details the client is able to provide to us (in some cases this is highly commercially confidential) and then filling the gap to satisfy Clearcast’s agenda.
  • Conducting product demonstration photographs and videos.
  • Conducting consumer surveys.
  • Generating a compelling report with all of the above to convince the consultants

If Clearcast has further questions about the claims, it’s sent back to the agency and we then have the substantial task of gathering sufficient evidence that the claims are valid.

What happens if a TV Commercial claim is rejected?

Sometimes a compromise between broadcast compliance and the advertisers ideal script is required.  Again, that’s where Concept TV come in as an experienced TV Agency.  Our copywriter will work to identify powerful words and phrases that are compliant, but also say what the client wants (as far as possible!).  If you’d like to know more about this aspect, ask us about our Solid Wood vs. Real Wood submissions.

Its important to choose a Full Service TV Advertising Agency, not just a production company.

As a full service TV Advertising Agency, it’s our job to liaise with our client and Clearcast (the compliance agency) to ensure the ads we broadcast are legal, decent and honest.  As a rule of thumb, we won’t pick up the camera until we have a Clearcast approved TV Commercial Script.  Any production company that does is risking it’s clients money.  What if you’ve filmed £60,000 worth of TV Commercial, but then it’s rejected and you need to re-shoot?  We’ve had a number of clients come to us with exactly that problem – and we’ve had to help them pick up the pieces!

Not only will we help deal and mitigate the compliance aspect, but we’ll also work with you and explain how Clearcast and their consultants are likely to interpret the BCAP (Broadcast Code Of Practice) guidelines when looking at your intended claims.  After all, you don’t want to broadcast a TV Commercial that ends up being pulled off-air, resulting in expensive loss of airtime budget.

Are you having problems with Clearcast / Broadcast Copy Compliance?

Give us a call now on 0203 002 92 42.  We’ve got 12 years of experience obtaining Clearcast approval for all manner of products and services.  From HG Mould Spray and Drain Unblocker chemicals through to domestic appliances by Morphy Richards, Kitchens to safety devices.  We’ve achieved approval for every single product that we’ve been presented with – and thats something we’re really proud of!

Want to know more about TV Advertising Compliance? Call us now – 0203 002 92 42.