Agencies fear latest text rules

TV chiefs have moved to allay the fears of Britain’s agencies after the imposition of stiffer rules on the use of superimposed text in commercials.

TV chiefs have moved to allay the fears of Britain’s agencies after

the imposition of stiffer rules on the use of superimposed text in

commercials.



New regulations that came into force on Monday have caused widespread

alarm in the industry because they apply to any words appearing on

screen and not just to the disclaimers and conditions required by

law.



But at a meeting last week with the Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising, officials from the Independent Television Commission and

the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre said that a common-sense

approach will be adopted when the rules are interpreted.



The updated rules are a response to a recent increase in the number of

commercials - mostly for financial products and telecommunications

offers - where the superimposed text has not been on screen long enough

and is too small to read.



The latest guidelines stipulate the size of the text and the time it

should be on screen in order that it can be read by the average

viewer.



But senior agency creatives were worried about the extension of the

rules to cover so-called ’non legal’ text and the requirement to keep

some words on screen for more than two seconds when half a second could

be sufficient.



Frank Lieberman, the head of TV at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, said: ’The

new rules could affect the entire creative edit of a commercial and the

way creative teams would have to be briefed.’



But the ITC and BACC insist they will only act against a commercial if

it is clearly misleading and that they will not disrupt commercials

already in production and campaigns currently on air.



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