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.
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
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
Advertising and Children
Don't forget the fruit gums mum^H^H^Hchum
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.
- Toys must be shown in scale.
- Sweet eating during the day or at bedtime is not to be recommended
- No `dangerous' stunts
- No encouragement to enter strange places, or converse with strangers
- No advertisement should make the child feel inferior if they
don't have the product
- No endorsements by cartoon characters or puppets found elsewhere on current children's TV
- No playing in a road; crossing the street should be at a
- Children portrayed should be well mannered and well behaved.