The UK’s Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have launched a series of new advertising codes.
The updates go into effect on September 1, 2010 and include new mandates related to videogame advertising. Radio ads for games that have an 18+ rating are listed under the “Special Category,” meaning that they must be centrally cleared by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RAAC). Other entries in this category include ads for alcohol, slimming products, gambling products and services, religious organizations, adult shops and charities.
Radio ads for 18+ rated games are also required by BCAP (PDF) to obtain “central copy clearance,” joining ads for adult shops, stripograms, escort agencies and R18+ rated videos.
18+, 16+ or 15+ rated games may not be advertised, either on television or the radio, “in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to persons below the age of 16.”
CAP codes (PDF) cover non-broadcast type advertising such as online ads, ads contained on DVDs or other film mediums and in-game advertisements, though no specific directives were offered for the latter category.
One of the main goals of the new codes was to govern the increased usage of claims that products are environmentally friendly. Such claims must now be based on the full life cycle of a product or service, unless the ad states otherwise. Advertisers were directed that they “must not mislead consumers about the environmental benefit that a product or service offers.”