Watchdog orders TV advertisers to make small print larger and clearer after viewers complain they can’t read it
- New industry code announced advertisers have to emphasise important details
- The new code, announced yesterday, also has to allow time to read the text
- Small print is frequently used in adverts such as cars, broadband and insurance
They say that the devil is in the detail.
But when it comes to TV ads that detail is often lost because small print is too tiny or unclear.
Now under a new industry code announced yesterday advertisers will have to emphasise important details, ensure text is clear – and allow viewers enough time to read it. Small print is frequently used in adverts for products such as cars, broadband and insurance.
A new industry code announced yesterday advertisers will have to emphasise important details, ensure text is clear – and allow viewers enough time to read it (stock image)
But an Advertising Standards Authority study showed that most people find it difficult to read text which can contain crucial terms and conditions. This is particularly a problem among older viewers.
The new code, drawn up by industry watchdog the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, will be introduced from next March. It requires that adverts must clearly present significant limitations and qualifications to a headline claim.
Viewers had complained to the ASA that they could not read on-screen text against a moving background – or white text on a white background.
They also said text can be too small, squashed or not on the screen long enough. They added that there was often too much information to read and take it all in before the ad finished. The use of abbreviations, a lot of numerical information or excess sound also made some TV commercials hard to understand, the research found.
The ASA said the lack of clarity risked misleading viewers.
Launching the code last night, BCAP director Shahriar Coupal said: ‘We’ve acted promptly to update our guidance and provide greater clarity.’
ASA boss Guy Parker stressed: ‘It’s vital that any qualifications are presented clearly and I welcome BCAP’s tough new standards to ensure that happens.’
The new code, drawn up by industry watchdog the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, will be introduced from next March (stock image)