ITW Advertising

The Advertising Code or What is Not Allowed.

The rules about advertising and the standards that should apply have gradually changed over the years like everything else.

Programmes without Commercials

Some categories of programmes were considered right from the beginning to be 'unsuitable' to contain breaks for advertising. These include religious services, and coverage of official events involving the Royal Family. Others are relatively new, like no internal breaks in children's programmes under 25 minutes in length, which illogically applies to ITV and Channel 4 only.

In one case the companies themselves proposed no advertising - schools programmes. However this was not altogether altruistic as foregoing the adverts during these broadcasts at that time meant that these valuable minutes earned could be transferred to more lucrative times later in the day. This is no longer the case.

Some programmes by contrast have gained commercials; originally no breaks were permitted in news broadcasts or even the changeover from a national to a regional news bulletin. This restriction went in 1967.

Banned items

Certain items can only be shown after a certain time, in the same way as the 9 o'clock watershed for programming, usually as a matter of perceived `taste', or wish to `protect' children. For example the current Code require condoms to be advertised after 9 o'clock unless on Channel 4 when after 7 o'clock is fine!

Other items are completely banned, but then again this changes. Political and religious advertising were disallowed explicitly in the 1954 Television Act, but the latter is now permissible within limits, although a company can choose to refuse all such advertisements.

Football Pools and betting

The Pools Promoters' Association wished from the start of ITV to advertise, but some of the companies were reluctant. The Advertising Advisory Committee recommended that they should be allowed, but not any other form of gambling. However then one company wanted to have ads from on-course bookmakers during horse racing, and the ITA then ruled that any form of gambling could not be advertised.

Ironically the ITA changed its mind in 1970, but by this stage the banning of the advertising of gambling was inforced by the 1964 Television Act. The government of the day refused to change the law then and when asked again in 1983. It took the introduction of the National Lottery to see football pools advertised.

Cigarette and Tobacco Advertising

Some companies gained nearly 10% of their advertising revenue from cigarette commercials and it was the third largest in terms of advertising expenditure, beaten only by washing products and confectionery. The first limits were placed in 1962, when they were banned from children's programmes, and the actors in the ads had to be over 21, with no connection allowed to social success. A month later the tobacco companies themselves started a policy of advertising only after 9pm.

In 1964 the Minister of Health and the Postmaster-General directed the ITA under the 1964 Television Act to end cigarette advertising, which was done on 1 August 1965. Pipe tobacco and cigars were advertised into the 90s, comming to an end in 1991 as a result of an EU directive.

Advertising and Children

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Parents are now protected from `pestering' advertising which encouraged children to nag their parents to buy a particular item. However there are a number of other rules, some given below:

A number of things cannot be advertised specifically during designated children's television time, and sometimes shortly afterwards. Examples are alcohol including liquor chocolates, and matches.

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