Magazine article Marketing

ITC Unveils First Code for TV Ads

Magazine article Marketing

ITC Unveils First Code for TV Ads

Article excerpt

ITC unveils first code for TV ads

From January 1, "goodness" and "wholesomeness" would be forced to retire from television advertising's roster of hackneyed expressions. The regulatory Independent Television Commission (ITC) has ruled in its new code that, when applied to food, such generalised health claims will no longer be acceptable - unless medically proven.

Tobacco ads will face total extinction from October 3 1991, but undertakers and religious groups will enjoy a new lease of life as liberalised rules now allow them to advertise on TV.

But overall, this week's publication of the ITC Code of Advertising Standards and Practice - effective from January 1 - has left the industry with few surprises. Original industry hopes that the new code would herald a grand liberalisation of advertising standards have been dashed.

So now attention is turning to the fine detail of the code and, more importantly, to the way it is to be implemented. "It is not that the code has changed," says Dr John Rae, director of the Portman Group, the industry-funded body which campaigns to promote sensible drinking. "It's the way it is operated that will change. The crucial thing is not its form but how it is applied."

First challenges come from the food industry, where the ITC's biggest move against health claims comes. "The old code was rather open to interpretation on health and nutrition claims," says Mike Rayner, senior researcher of the Coronary Prevention Group. "This requires advertisers to set health messages in a much wider context, which is all to the good."

And already the lobby group Action and Information on Sugar (AIS) is preparing to see how far the ITC will go. "Would |A Mars a day help you work, rest and play' come under that?" asks AIS chairman Jack Winkler. "We will take advantage of the new code to test that one."

The code will apply to ITV (including TV-am), Channel 4, UK direct broadcasting satellite services and other satellite services broadcasting from the UK to other countries, cable and local delivery services. Though the ITC will continue to make the rules, broadcasters holding ITC licenses will be responsible for enforcing them.

Willis dismisses fears that the ITC may be slow to act on complaints. …

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