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People deserve 'decent, honest' ads says broadcasting authority as it launches new rules

Product placement gets a separate distinction to advertising in the revised code.

Product placement in RTÉ show Fair City
Product placement in RTÉ show Fair City
Image: RTÉ

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland (BAI) has introduced its revised general commercial communications code, which it says provides greater clarity for advertisers across different media in Ireland.

The revised code updates the distinction between sponsorship and product placement, as well as setting out new rules regarding advertisements for financial products and services on the radio.

As part of its statutory review into its existing code, the BAI found that it is “broadly effective and its principles are respected and understood”. There were some parts however, that required “consideration and modification”.

The Chairperson of the BAI, Professor Pauric Travers, said that “while the broadcasting landscape is constantly evolving, the BAI is satisfied that the Code is sufficiently robust to provide direction and clarity to broadcasters over the coming years”.

The changes include:

  • A clear definition of the difference between product placement. “If a product or service is built into the action of the programme, it is product placement. If sponsor announcements or references are shown during a programme but are not part of the plot or narrative of the programme, they qualify as sponsorship.”
  • Radio stations are only permitted to broadcast advertisements for a certain number of minutes per hour. The mandatory regulatory statements (e.g. “X bank is certified by the financial regulator”) in radio advertisements for financial services and products will be excluded from restriction, giving stations a bit of extra airtime for ads.

The BAI chief executive Michael O’Keefe said: “The aim of the revised code is to give the public the confidence that commercial communications on television are legal, decent, honest, truthful, and protect their interests.”

The new code will come into effect from 1 June 2017. Every four years, the BAI is obliged to review the effects of its code and impose changes where necessary.

Read: These are the major trends expected to shape the Irish ad industry in 2017

Read: Super Bowl ads get political and discuss ‘four years of bad hair’

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Sean Murray

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