The purpose of these guidelines is to provide advertisers and agencies with an outline of standards and requirements which must be adhered to when producing commercials, infomercials and/or public service announcements. The guidelines are reviewed on a regular basis in order to ensure they are up-to-date and address the changing values and beliefs in Canadian society.
Broadcasters who subscribe to the Television Bureau of Canada Telecaster Clearance Services, expect that all creative will meet the requirements of these member-approved guidelines, realizing there can be no clearly defined set of criteria that would be acceptable to all viewers. No guideline can anticipate every possible scenario that may be problematic, however, TVB Telecaster Services expects each depiction will comply with the intent and spirit of not only these objectives but of each individual guideline as well.
Advertising cannot be misleading to viewers. When claims are made, such as competitive claims, an Attestation letter will be required to support the claims being made. Please note that in some cases, such as issue and opinion advertising, substantiation of claims will be required. Telecaster will provide preliminary script/storyboard approvals, if requested, and the final production must be reviewed before Telecaster numbers can be issued.
Advertisers should bear in mind that all commercials must be of good taste and sensitive to matters of public opinion. In general, all persons appearing in commercials, infomercials, and PSAs must be clothed so that private body parts are not visible. Alternatively, in the case of a commercial message that comprises nudity of a non-sexual nature, private body parts must be blocked from view. Please contact your Telecaster Analyst for further direction.
Telecaster members feel it is imperative to keep the best interests of young children and youth in mind when producing commercials. Because children and youth are very impressionable, commercials should not contain any visual or audio portrayals which are detrimental to their well-being.
Telecaster acknowledges that some images and/or representations in advertising may be objectionable to some viewers and caution should be exercised but not limited to the following areas of concern:
i. Offers and Purchase Terms (updated September 30, 2010)
Commercials containing elements of negative or degrading sex-role portrayal, negative racial or ethnic portrayal, sexualization of children, excessive violence, horror, or any other portrayals likely to be offensive to the majority of viewers will be rejected. Telecaster has received complaints focused on the use of animals in commercials, death-related issues, children's behaviour and the use of religious figures and connotations.
Health & safety: when necessary, the general public's health and safety should be taken into account. For example, people in cars should be wearing seatbelts; appropriate safety gear should be worn when performing certain sports. In some instances, Telecaster will request that a "dramatization only" or similar words to that effect be added to the commercial when showing unsafe acts.
Sexual innuendo: this may not be appropriate for all types of programming and suggested scheduling restrictions and rating codes may be assigned when necessary. Please refer to the guidelines section entitled "Sexual Innuendo" for further information.
Legality: It is the responsibility of the advertiser to ensure that the airing of a commercial is permitted by law and the review by Telecaster does not include a review of the law. If an allegation is made that a commercial is illegal, Telecaster may require from the advertiser's lawyer a copy of a legal opinion without material qualification indicating that it is within all applicable law. In some circumstances, Telecaster may also require from the advertiser other assurances such as an indemnity.
Language issues: Profanity is not permitted. Depending on the context, some language may or may not be appropriate for all types of programming and suggested scheduling restrictions and rating codes may be assigned when necessary. Phrases or comments of a derogatory tone or that encourage the bullying of others are unacceptable.
Alcohol "Unbranded": caution must be exercised when incorporating scenes of unbranded alcohol as a prop for mood-setting in commercials. All individuals in the commercial must be of legal drinking age. Scenes that include (in audio or video) consumption of unbranded alcohol, implied consumption of unbranded alcohol (part-empty wine glass or beer bottle/glass etc), or implied over-consumption of unbranded alcohol (the number of glasses/bottles of alcohol exceed the number of individuals in a scene) are unacceptable.
The CRTC Code for Broadcast Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages applies to the use of "branded" alcohol in commercials.
Offers and Purchase Terms: “All” commercials that contain; limited time offers, special financing offers, “Do not pay until” and “Do not pay the tax” offers, must adhere to the following requirements:
- “All” commercials that contain financing terms such as “0% financing” and “Do Not Pay Until …(Date)” must add a video super that indicates that the offer is based on approved credit or “O.A.C.”
- For “all” commercials that contain an offer such as “Do Not Pay The Tax” or “We Pay The GST,” a video disclosure statement will need to be added to the commercial to indicate how this is calculated at the time of sale or a “see store for details” video super will need to be added to the commercial.