The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s revised General Commercial Communications Code came into effect on 1 June 2017. Below are some of the key changes.
Sponsorship v Product Placement
The revised code clarifies the distinction between sponsorship and product placement. The definition of product placement states that the “decisive criterion” distinguishing product placement and sponsorship is that with product placement, the reference to the product and/or service is built into the action of a programme, whereas a sponsorship announcement or reference may be shown during a programme but is not part of the product or narrative. Sponsorship is limited to announcements stating the sponsorship arrangement or a sponsored competition.
The revised code provides further specifics in relation to the transmission of commercial communications for alcoholic beverages. The code states that each broadcaster must publish a list online of programmes, which do not carry commercial communications for alcoholic beverages. The revised code further prohibits alcohol sponsorship of sports programmes and bulletins to include competitions within such programmes.
Financial Services and Products
The revised code contains additional rules in relation to radio only, stating that disclosure and warning statements in commercial communications for financial services and products must comply with the code but “shall not count toward advertising minutage.”
Food, Nutrition and Health
Both in relation to food information commercials and commercial communications containing claims in relation to nutrition and health, the revised code provides rules to prevent consumers being misled. For example, food information commercial communication must be “accurate, clear and easy to understand.” Nutrition and health claims in commercial communication are only permitted “if the average consumer can be expected to understand the beneficial effects” made in the claim. Further the revised code provides for criteria which must be included in commercial communication involving health claims as well as health claims which are not permitted in commercial communications.
Medicinal Products and Medical Devices
The revised code has updated the rules in relation to medicinal products and medical devices to include rules specifically related to electronic cigarettes. These are only permitted where the electronic cigarette is an authorised medical product.
The new General Communications Code can be accessed here.