Advertising regulators today announced a crackdown on misleading TV ads by introducing new standards for small print.
Under new standards published by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), TV advertisers will be required to emphasise qualifying information, ensure on-screen text is easy to read and allow viewers enough time to read it
The changes come after research by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) showed viewers often struggle to read and understand small print in TV ads.
Respondents to the ASA’s survey said it was difficult to read on-screen text against a moving background, where there was insufficient colour contrast or where the text appeared too briefly.
The research also found the use of acronyms made the small print difficult to understand.
ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Our research has told us that TV viewers can be misled when they struggle to read on-screen text that contains important information.
“It’s vital that any qualifications are presented clearly and I welcome BCAP’s tough new standards to ensure that happens.”
The ASA said a lack of clarity in small print meant advertisers risked misleading customers. The regulator said poorly-presented information can lead to “confusion or disappointment”.
BCAP director Shahriar Coupal said: “As an evidence-based regulator, we welcome the ASA’s research.
“We’ve acted promptly to update our guidance and provide greater clarity on the acceptable presentation of on-screen text in ads, benefiting advertisers and viewers alike.”
The new standards will come into effect on 1 March 2019.