Two versions of the 30-second ad - one suitable for 12A audiences and one for up to 18-rated films - will air in cinemas nationally for two months. The BBFC negotiated a deal with cinema operators for air space, and the spots will run in the slot between ads and film trailers for maximum exposure.
The BBFC approached DFGW last year with a brief to reposition the organisation to cinema audiences. The account director, Elliot Wilson, said: "The BBFC suffers in that not many people know exactly what its role is; they think it's there to censor films, when actually the BBFC works hard with the film industry to make sure each film is classified correctly."
The film trailer-style ads, both called "the unknown", attempt to capture the mood of a suspense thriller, by showing a young boy on a scary nocturnal journey, accompanied by shots of his frightened parents who find his empty bed.
A whispered voiceover tells viewers that "The scariest place is in your head" , before the voice of the actor Robert Lindsay explains the certification system.
Wilson added: "The ads show what the BBFC has to look out for to make sure that films are given the right certificate. The style of the ad will make viewers sit up and take notice even more."
The ads were written by the DFGW creative directors, Dave Waters and Paul Grubb, and were directed by Joe Roman through Rose Hackney Barber.