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Advertiser Content Policies & Guidelines

for All U.S. Television Advertising


Advertiser Guidelines: Introduction

Cheap TV Spots (the “Company”) creates and airs new, custom television commercial productions and may, from time to time, air ads that our clients supply. The policies and guidelines below will be helpful to those advertisers submitting completed ads to the Company for local or national television airing.

The Company’s ongoing goal is to create and present advertising that is truthful, substantiated, in good public taste, and not misleading. The Advertiser Policies and Guidelines outlined here are designed to help educate advertisers about the rules and norms for creating and running advertiser supplied content and advertiser supplied commercials via the Company.

Cheap TV Spots® brand advertisements are designed to meet the highest standards. As part of this endeavor, Cheap TV Spots advertisements are designed to adhere to federal, state and local laws, Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission rules and guidelines, television network standards and practices, and other applicable guidelines for advertising on cable, broadcast, and satellite television, or other media.

These guidelines are general and not intended to be exhaustive; additionally, individual networks (cablecasters, broadcasters, and satellite providers) may impose additional standards and policies to meet local community standards for acceptable content.

The Company will not submit for airing any television commercial that measurably exceeds CALM Act mandated volume levels, exceeds Broadcast Safe video Luma/Chroma levels, is of a non-standard or internet-only format, or which violates any federal content standards. All outside commercials sent to the Company for air time placement must be evaluated by the Company prior to acceptance for presentation to networks. There is a nominal fee for this service, without any obligation to buy air time from the Company, and the advertiser (not the network) will receive a complete report of the evaluation.


Federal Trade Commission

The FTC advertising guidance for business generally covers false or misleading advertising. Details can be found on this site: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/guides.htm

Federal Communications Commission

Guidance from the FCC, which generally addresses obscene, indecent or profane broadcasts, can be found at this site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/obscene.html


Guidelines:

This Advertiser Policies and Guidelines document is intended to inform advertisers about rules and norms, but is not intended to be all-inclusive. For example, individual television networks are not required by law to air all material submitted, and in addition, may impose their own network-specific requirements or restrictions. Advertisers are responsible for adhering to all laws, rules and guidelines, and the Company reserves the right to accept or reject any advertisement or require revision of content provided by the advertiser. The advertiser is fully responsible for, and the Company shall have no liability in connection with, any advertising content that the advertiser provides, or any advertisement (including any self-produced advertisement) that advertisers run.

If you have any questions about these Advertiser Policies and Guidelines, you may Contact Us via email. For questions about compliance with advertising-related rules and regulations, you should consult legal counsel.

In general, the guidelines are as follows (additional rules may apply):

Alcoholic Beverages

Advertising of alcoholic beverages must adhere to specific guidelines. Advertisers may promote alcoholic beverages, subject to federal, state and local laws, and applicable guidelines from the Federal Communications Commission, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, television broadcasters and other entities such as the industry organization, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Inc. Below is a partial list of rules (additional rules may apply):

  1. Advertisements may not depict the actual consumption of alcoholic beverages, which includes sound effects or visual images of drinking.
  2. Advertisements may not encourage excessive alcohol consumption, or any use of alcohol by minors.
  3. Advertisements may not be directed or targeted to persons under the legal drinking age of 21.
  4. Advertisements generally may not refer to the strength (proof) of the beverage.
  5. Where required by law, advertisements must disclose the name and city of the brewer, producer, packer, wholesaler or reporter responsible for its broadcast.

American Flag

Unless the depiction is newsworthy or part of a news event, advertisements depicting the American flag should treat the flag in a dignified and respectful manner.

Availability

The availability of products or services, if limited, must be disclosed. For example, if your products or services are not yet available or not widely available in the advertising market, your ad must make this limitation clear.

Attorney or Legal Services

Advertisements for attorneys or other legal services must include the appropriate disclaimers and disclosures for the region where they run, including any local, state, or federal requirements.

CALM Act

Audio levels in advertisements must adhere to federal rules as mandated by the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, which prohibits the delivery to viewers advertisements that exceed specified ATSC standard volume levels.

Children

Advertisements targeted to children must comply with federal, state and local laws, Federal Trade Commission, television broadcast and other applicable guidelines, including the Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children's Advertising of the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Better Business Bureau.

A downloadable copy of Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children's Advertising can be found at this site: http://www.caru.org/guidelines/

Cigarettes and Tobacco

Cheap TV Spots does not accept advertising for cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, tobacco paraphernalia and smokeless tobacco. Advertising for smoking cessation aids, smokeless cigarettes, pipes, and associated paraphernalia will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Comparative Advertising

Comparative advertising is the presentation of the advertised product or service juxtaposed against a competitor. Advertisements comparing products or services may not distort or exaggerate differences or otherwise create a false, deceptive or misleading impression. Comparative advertisements must comply with federal, state and local laws, Federal Trade Commission, television broadcast and other applicable guidelines. The FTC Statement of Policy of Comparative Advertising can found at this site: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/policystmt/ad-compare.htm

Contests, Lotteries, and Sweepstakes

Cheap TV Spots does not accept advertisements for lotteries, contests and sweepstakes, except after evaluation and approval from the Company. A lottery, gift enterprise or similar scheme generally exists when three elements are present:
1.) the distribution of a prize, 2.) according to chance, and 3.) for consideration such as money or the purchase of a product.

Contraceptives / Birth Control Methods & Devices

Advertisements for condoms, contraceptive methods, or devices are subject to prior review by Cheap TV Spots and must comply with all federal, state and local laws, as well as Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, television broadcast and other applicable guidelines.

Demonstrations, Dramatizations, Reenactments, Simulations and Exhibitions

Advertisements that include demonstrations, dramatizations, reenactments, simulations, tests, experiments or other technical, mechanical, electronic or chemical exhibitions, must comply with all federal, state and local laws and other applicable guidelines. The advertiser must accurately depict the product or service involved, and must disclose when actors are used to portray actual persons.

Dietary Supplements and Nutritional Products

Advertisements related to dietary supplements or nutritional products must comply with federal, state and local laws and other applicable guidelines. Any consumable product making product claims may require disclaimers shown legibly in the advertisement, as well as documentation for any claims, which may be required by networks where the commercial is submitted to air. For details on federal regulations see:

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act : http://www.fda.gov/opacom/laws/dshea.html

FTC Statement on Dietary Supplements: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/dietsupp.htm

Direct Response Advertising

Please refer to "Mail Order, Telephone, Internet, and Direct Response Advertising"

Endorsements and Testimonials

An endorsement is a statement of public approval or support by a real individual or enterprise. A testimonial is a statement of in-person experience by a real party, such as a consumer or expert who has personally used the product or service. Endorsements and testimonials must always reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser. Endorsements and testimonials may not contain claims that could not be substantiated if made by the advertiser directly. All endorsements and testimonials must comply with federal, state and local laws and other applicable guidelines. See the FTC Statement on Endorsements and Testimonials at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/endorse.htm

Financial and Investment

Advertising for banks, funds, stocks, bonds, commodities, insurance, real estate, and other investments must disclose all material restrictions, risk factors and qualifications. Such advertising must comply with federal, state and local laws, the Securities and Exchange Commission, television broadcast and other applicable guidelines, including regulations publicly promoted by applicable professional or trade groups.

Firearms and Ammunition

Cheap TV Spots does not accept advertising for firearms or ammunition.

Food and Nutrition

Advertisements may not exaggerate the nutritional value of consumables (food, beverages, etc.). Health claims, including claims of food being “nutritious” or “healthy” must be substantiated and in the context of a total diet. All food advertisements must comply with federal, state and local laws and other applicable guidelines. See the provisions of the Food and Drug Administration's Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, at http://www.fda.gov/ora/inspect_ref/igs/nleatxt.html

Guarantees

When using the terms "guarantee," "warranty" or similar words that signify a promise or assurance, advertisers may be required to provide specific information as to the actual terms and conditions. Advertisers should generally disclose whether an advertised warranty is "limited" or "full," its duration, and any major limitations of the warranty. Advertisers should also provide information on where to find the full details of the warranty. All guarantees and warranties must comply with federal, state and local laws, Federal Trade Commission, television broadcast and other applicable guidelines.

Issue-Based or Controversial Topics

Networks generally do not accept advertising about controversial topics, and the Company follows broadcaster policies in this regard. Political advertisements, due to their nature, are typically an exception to the prohibitions on controversial issues advertising. Any political advertisements must comply with all federal, state and local laws for content and truthfulness.

Medical and Health-Related Products

Advertisements related to health and medical products and services (including prescription and non-prescription drugs) must comply with federal, state, and local laws, Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission and other applicable guidelines. The FDA and broadcasters have strict guidelines, which include:

For Prescription Drugs:
  1. Advertisements must contain any pertinent warnings and side effects information
  2. The phrase “available only by prescription” or “use only as directed by your physician” generally must appear visually within the commercial
  3. Advertisements cannot depict use of the product on-camera
For Nonprescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs and Medical Devices:
  1. Claims that the product alone will effect a cure are prohibited
  2. Unless there is sufficient qualification or documentation, terms such as "safe," "without risk," "harmless," or similar terms may not be used
  3. Advertising may not make appeals to children
  4. The phrase "Use only as directed" must appear visually within the advertisement
Statements From the Medical Profession:

Generally, health professionals may appear in commercials for a health care product or service as an expert endorsement. As with user testimonials, the advertisement must be clear as to the nature of the expert's area of expertise and experience with the product.

Mail Order, Telephone, Internet, and Direct Response Advertising

All mail order, telephone, Internet and direct response advertising must comply with federal, state and local laws and other applicable guidelines. The FTC Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule can be found at this site:
http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus02-business-guide-mail-and-telephone-order-merchandise-rule

A few examples of direct response, telephone, internet, and mail order considerations:

  1. Any charges beyond the advertised purchase price (postage, handling, etc.) must also be disclosed.
  2. The time necessary for the consumer to receive the merchandise must be reasonable. For example, if time for delivery will exceed 30 days, commercials must indicate the actual anticipated time for such delivery.

"New" Used to Describe Products and Services

Advertisers should use the term “new” only for a period of six months from the time a product or service is introduced.

Nudity or Pornography

Advertising may not, directly or by implication, contain nudity or pornography. The FCC defines general rules for such content; however, and community standards also play a role. See also, "Obscenity, Indecency, Profanity, Abusiveness, Vulgarity." See the FCC website for details.

Obscenity, Indecency, Profanity, Abusiveness, Vulgarity

Advertising may not, directly or by implication, be obscene, indecent, profane or vulgar. Nor may advertising be threatening, abusive, harassing or hateful (racially, ethnically, religiously, or by creed), or otherwise objectionable in light of community norms and standards. See the FCC website for details.

Pay-Per-Call and "900" Number Services

Cheap TV Spots does not accept advertisements promoting the use of "900" numbers (or other telephone exchanges such as "540") for pay-per-call services, except under special circumstances and subject to approval from the Company. Generally, the cost of such services must be disclosed in the advertisement.

Personal Products

Advertisements for personal products (such as feminine hygiene products, home pregnancy tests, home HIV tests, adult diapers, STD medications) must follow television network content guidelines.

Political Endorsements, Campaigns and Messages

See "Issue-Based or Controversial Topics"

Premiums and Offers

Advertisers must ensure that the value of any premium is no less than stated and that any premiums or offers are not unsafe or detrimental to the consumer. The advertiser's responsibilities include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  1. Provide all offer details, including rules, eligibility requirements, beginning and end dates, and requirements for fulfillment
  2. Make sure that full details are easily accessible
  3. Give a cash refund for premium items that are returned by the consumer.

Prohibited Techniques and Presentation Methods

Cheap TV Spots does not present for airing any advertisements utilizing techniques and methods that include:

  1. Making claims or representations that are false or tend to deceive, mislead, or misrepresent
  2. Use of "subliminal perception" or other similar techniques
  3. Offering unsupported or exaggerated promises of earnings
  4. Using high volume or audio peaks that violate U.S. government mandated CALM Act standards.
  5. Using "Bait and Switch" tactics that promote goods or services not intended for sale but designed to lure the public into purchasing substitute goods or services
  6. Giving unqualified safety references, if the product's package, label or insert contains a caution, or the normal use of the product presents a possible hazard
  7. Making direct or implied use of government officials or any government body without official approval.

Safety

Advertisers must assure compliance with depictions of normal safety precautions (for example, avoiding depictions of drinking and driving, and other unsafe and illegal activity).

Solicitation of Funds

In keeping with broadcasters’ policies, the Company does not accept advertisements that solicit funds - except for certain types of political campaigns, charities, non-profits, and similar organizations, and only when in compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

Substantiation of Claims

Advertising claims must be substantiated in advance of airing the advertisement, with valid and reliable research or support. Acceptable claim substantiation complies with federal, state and local laws, Federal Trade Commission, and other applicable guidelines. The FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation can be found at this site: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/ad3subst.htm

Superimposed Text, “Supers”

When superimposed copy is used, it must be displayed clearly and conspicuously.

Tobacco

See “Cigarettes and Tobacco”

Warranties and Guarantees

See “Guarantees”


These guidelines are for the advertiser's information only and are set forth as general standards. They are by no means exhaustive and are subject to revision without notice by the Company at its sole discretion.

Standards and practices are continually evolving and vary by region and medium. It is the sole responsibility of the advertiser to ensure that their advertisement conforms with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.

Created: 13 January 2007
Last updated: 19 June 2013

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