How does broadcast clearance work around the world?

To successfully broadcast your campaign globally, you need to align your creative to the guidelines set by the various clearance bodies in their target markets.

Read on for a high level summary or download the guide to get the full picture on interpreting the rules in practice, ensuring that your ads are ready to face the world’s most challenging clearance codes!


Whilst it may be a hassle, there’re no avoiding clearance in the UK; it’s mandatory. Before adverts are shown on TV, they need to be approved by Clearcast. Clearcast checks submitted adverts against the UK Codes of Advertising (BCAP and CAP), which set out what is and isn’t permitted. Clearcast’s role is to protect a brand’s reputation and to defend adverts from viewer complaints.

Key things to consider for passing UK clearance:

  • Do not mislead by presenting information in an unclear manner or by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service
  • Be clear on pricing, including delivery charges
  • Avoid content that is harmful or offensive
  • Ensure that your ad doesn’t portray dangerous, irresponsible or inconsiderate driving or motorcycling
  • Encourage good nutritional habits and a healthy lifestyle
  • Provide evidence to prove any claims
  • Think about the time of day your ad will air as there are different regulations for different times


TV clearance is also mandatory in France. The official clearance body is called ARPP (Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité). ARPP is an auto-financed institution, independent from public authorities. Its goal is to ensure fair, truthful, healthy and respectful advertising on French TV.

The clearance body is managed by representatives from different advertising professions (advertisers, agencies and media).

Before sending your ads to ARPP, read through our following tips and tricks:

  • Keep your advertising clear and truthful
  • Avoid making any reference, even indirectly, to racism or sectarianism, and differences in gender
  • Do not include scenes of violence, moral or physical
  • Refrain from sharing potentially dangerous behaviours in your ads
  • Promote well-balanced diets and healthy physical activities
  • Be extremely mindful of stereotypes, especially when they concern religious or ethnic groups
  • Ensure ads comply with the French Highway Code, note that this is not just limited to drivers but to anyone using the road


Autocontrol is is the independent self-regulatory body in Spain. Their code is similar to the UK’s and France’s, but there are specific areas that you should pay close attention to, including the following:

  • Children
  • Environment
  • Tobacco
  • Medicines
  • Health
  • Cosmetics
  • Slimming / weight control
  • Faith
  • Religion
  • Gambling
  • Lotteries
  • Alcohol
  • Video games
  • Social media
  • Stock market
  • Toys


Clear Ads (Free TV Commercials Advice) provides classification and information services to advertisers, agencies and production houses in relation to television commercials and infomercials. It is important to note that Clear Ads does not provide legal advice. It is the responsibility of each advertiser and its advertising agency to ensure their commercials comply with all relevant laws and regulatory requirements.

Clear Ads usually requests the same level of substantiations and responsible visuals as Clearcast and ARPP. Alongside this, there are a few points to consider when working with Clear Ads:

  • Make sure that any foreign language included in the TVC is translated by a NAATI-certified translator
  • For on-screen text, allow a 2 second hold time for supers of 10 words or less, when the word count is higher use a 0.2 second hold time per word
  • Pay attention to the size and font of your text as disclaimers must be easy to read


Much like the UK and France, clearance in Canada is mandatory. The clearance body, ThinkTV, works on behalf of Canadian broadcasters who subscribe to the Telecaster Services. When clearing adverts, ThinkTV follows guidelines written and agreed by Telecaster members.

The guidelines are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are up-to-date and address the changing values and beliefs in Canadian society.

How to successfully negotiate ThinkTV:

  • Do not mislead your viewers
  • Keep in mind that any claims made may have to be supported with evidence
  • Be sensitive in matters of public opinion
  • Do not share offensive content, such as: negative or degrading sex-role portrayal, negative racial or ethnic portrayal, sexualisation of children, excessive violence or horror
  • Keep in mind that advertising targeted at children is banned in Quebec
  • Be aware of the various age rating codes as each rating comes with its own set of guidelines
  • Ensure that your ad is closed-captioned


In the USA, the Broadcast Standards and Practices (a name traditionally given to the department at a television network) are responsible for the moral, ethical, and legal implications of the adverts that the network airs. All adverts are reviewed to check they adhere with the laws and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Drug Administration and the network’s own guidelines. Each network has their own set of guidelines, with CBS being one of the stations with the strictest guidelines.

Points to consider when getting ads cleared in the USA:

  • Be aware that some stations may ask you to provide confirmation that all props are generic
  • Ensure that you can substantiate any claims made in your ad
  • Remember that obscene broadcasts are prohibited at all times, while indecent or profane broadcasts are prohibited during certain hours

What We Do

Here at Freedman, we’re involved in the very early stages of concept development, providing clearance advice based on our years’ of experience. Our experts read the initial scripts, discussing any potential issues and advising on alternative solutions, if needed.

Once final scripts are ready, we check them for claims and ask for supporting substantiations. Similarly, we assist with visuals and casting, and help with drafting any required documentation so that we can contact the clearance bodies and start the pre-clearance process.

We help clients to present their concepts in a “clearance friendly” way, ensuring that they obtain approvals easier and faster. Our clearance team also negotiate with the clearance bodies on the clients’ behalf.

For all you need to know on clearance processes around the globe, download our Navigating Broadcast Clearance guide: