What is copy advice?

Copy advice is a service provided by self-regulatory organisations (SROs) to advertisers, agencies or the media on the compliance of an advertisement with self-regulatory rules and the applicable national law. Copy advice is provided on a confidential basis and usually accompanied by advice on the amendments necessary to bring a non-complying advertisement into line with the rules.

Who should seek copy advice and what are the advantages?

Anyone who would like to run a campaign in one or more countries and wishes to ensure an ad is compliant with the national advertising code(s) should seek copy advice. Seeking copy advice at an early stage in the preparation of a campaign provides advertisers and agencies with a degree of reassurance that it complies with the highest standards of practice. It also prevents time and money being wasted on campaigns which breach the rules and are therefore likely to be short-lived. In a wider context, copy advice helps protect the reputation of advertising in general.

Does copy advice guarantee that there will be no complaints?

Copy advice reduces the risk of infringements of the rules and consequently of an advertisement giving rise to complaints of substance, although it cannot completely eliminate the risk. Final responsibility for the veracity of advertising claims rests with the advertiser himself.

Is copy advice confidential?

All information submitted by or on behalf of advertisers will be treated confidentially by the Self-Regulatory Organization dealing with the request. 

How does it work?

All correspondence following a submission will be directly between the enquiring party and the Self-Regulatory Organisation. Each system is unique and reflects the local traditions, language, culture and history. The content and nature of the advice may, therefore, vary between countries.Advertisers, agencies and / or media that would like to get advice from just one self-regulatory organisation are advised to contact the self-regulatory organisation of the country of interest.

What is pre-clearance?

Pre-clearance is the compulsory examination of an advertisement before it is broadcast or published, to ensure that it complies with legal, statutory or self-regulatory rules. Pre-clearance often involves an element of copy advice, in terms of the changes necessary to enable a non-complying advertisement to be broadcast or published. However, its final purpose is not the same. Pre-clearance is normally found in circumstances where advertising is subject to statutory or co-regulation. It is the exception rather than the rule in European countries and it is currently required in countries like France and UK for all TV broadcast advertising, Portugal for alcohol and foods high in fat, salt and sugar ads for TV and some other countries for highly regulated specific industries (e.g. medicine and medical products)

Like copy advice, pre-clearance greatly reduces the risk of complaints, but if a complaint is received, the preliminary decision to grant clearance will be reviewed by the SRO’s jury and if necessary, it may be overruled. For more information, please consult EASA’s Blue Book.