Top Tips for starters

Advertising is a fast-paced business, both in terms of the work and the staff turnover. We put as much information as we can on our Knowledge Base and in our blogs, to help new starters get on top of all the different aspects of ad clearance, and also have a New Business team dedicated to helping those new to TV. But this article should also help you with the fundamentals.


To set up an account and access CopyCentral for the first time you’ll need to complete our registration and user agreement form, available to download here. Once you’re registered you’ll be allocated to Micky or Pete in the New Business team, who will walk you through your initial clearances and familiarise you with the process.


The standard process of working with Clearcast is essentially in 3 steps, all of which need to be completed on CopyCentral. Even if your ad is already filmed, you must complete step 1.

Step 1 – Script submission 

We’ll review the claims and substantiation of your proposed ad on a script document.

Step 2 – Rough Cut video submission

So we can view the edit to make sure it passes all our checks and see if it needs a scheduling or timing restriction.

Step 3 – TVC video submission

This will be the final clocked version of your ad to go on air. It must have the clock slate and clock number.


The clearance process isn’t a box-ticking exercise; we must look at claims in scripts, implied meanings, the ramifications of the visuals and much more, not to mention the often-complex substantiation supplied by agencies or advertisers. Please allow up to 3 working days for feedback on your script each time you update. Depending on the complexity of your ad, average approval time is 2-3 weeks, which of course can vary either side.  If something is last minute, is the Fast Track Service what you need?


Often the client will need to provide evidence for any claims in their ad in line with the BCAP code. Anything from claiming something is free, to retail discounts, to comparative claims. We have templates here that could help make the process run as smoothly as possible. Of course, as every ad is different, so will the substantiation needs be. We’ll guide you as best we can as to the type of supporting evidence you or your client will need to provide.


If you think some or the majority of your new script is based on something approved by Clearcast before, ask your client for a previous clock number or CopyCentral submission ID. Providing this with your submission at the start helps speed up the clearance process and saves us duplicating work done in the past.


If you know that your media plan includes TV, then you will need to select ‘Linear/ VOD’ type in the detail when creating your submissions. We will review this against the BCAP code.

If your ad is only going out on video on demand services, then please tick ‘VOD only’. This will only be reviewed under the CAP code. It’s always best to check with the broadcasters first and they will confirm with you before you submit to us.

Full channels and services we clear for can be found here.  While we clear for a lot, we don’t clear for all. Please do check to make sure you need to submit to us for clearance.


“We will require subs for this claim” – The advertiser or client will need to provide evidence to support this claim.

“HFSS” – HFSS stands for High in Fat, Salt, or Sugar. Ads for food/drink products which are HFSS cannot be shown in or around children’s programmes, or programmes of particular appeal to under-16s. This can make a big difference to a media plan.

“Flashing test” – Your edits will be automatically checked to determine if they pass the Photosensitive epilepsy flash test.

“Linear” – If your ad is going out on broadcast TV – such as Channel 4.

“VOD”– Non-broadcast video on demand. ITV hub, for example.

“Supers pass/fail” – “Supers” is the term applied to text superimposed onto ads to provide additional information, usually because it is required to be there for legal or regulatory purposes (the “small print” or “legal text”). 

“Ex-kids” or “KB”– Is a scheduling restriction applied to ads that cannot be broadcast during children’s TV programming or during programmes of particular appeal to under-16s. Areas including, but not limited to licensed medicines and films & video games that are certificate 15 or above. Other reasons for Ex Kids (or more stringent restrictions) being applied may be to do with language used, potential harmful emulation of activity in an ad, or scary themes. You can read about scheduling restrictions in our Notes of Guidance and here.


We offer a number of other services that will help with your clearance:

  • Book yourself on a Clearcast training course – the better you understand how and why we work the way we do, the more time you’ll save.
  • Enlist the help of our Copy Development team who can save you time, money and stress by helping you shape your ad concepts, creative ideas and claims, making the clearance process as smooth as possible.
  • Need to run your ad in other countries? Get in touch with our Business Affairs team who can help you with international compliance.
  • Take advantage of our Meet the Consultants sessions; complicated claims can be discussed before a script is received.

6th December 2019