Pepsi Cola’s three-minute-long take-offs of the TV programme, the
Word, which spearheaded the soft drink’s pre-Christmas advertising
campaign, would not be allowed on British TV again under rules issued by
the Independent Television Commission this week.
The new code also tightens the rules governing the use of TV characters
in ads such as a current BT spot featuring 11 ex-stars of
The amendments to the ITC’s Code of Advertising Standards and Practice
are designed to underlines the need for a clear distinction between ads
and programmes, programme trailers and sponsorship credits.
Under current rules, ads are banned from including extracts from recent
or current programme material, but now a clause has been added which
prohibits the incorporation of programme titles, logos, sets or theme
music. The only exception to the rule is ads for products or services
based on the programme concerned.
This clause would rule out ads such as those for Pepsi, created by the
TV production company, Planet 24, which featured the Word’s set and
A spokeswoman for the ITC said this aspect of the code was under review
before the Pepsi ads aired, but confirmed that the new rules would
probably prohibit the same format running again.
A Pepsi spokesman said that the new ITC clause ’will not affect us in
the immediate future’.
A second new ITC regulation warns: ’Advertisements are likely to impinge
upon intellectual property rights if they feature actors appearing as
the characters they play in programmes.’
BT recently had to pay compensation to the BBC for using ex-cast members
of EastEnders in an ad - its agency, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, had not
obtained permission to use the characters in a commercial context.