Prohibited Advertisers

Prohibited advertisers are listed in Rules 10.1-10.5 of the BCAP code.
Advertisers or advertisements concerned with the following may not advertise on radio:

  • breath-testing devices and products that are intended to mask the effects of alcohol;
  • betting systems and products that are intended to facilitate winning games of chance;
  • cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and all other tobacco products (includes ads for non-tobacco products or services that share a brand name with a tobacco product unless these are clearly directed at an adult audience and do not promote smoking or tobacco products, rolling papers and filters);
  • collective investment schemes, i.e. the acquisition or disposal of units in these schemes that are not authorised or regulated by the FCA, without the prior approval of BCAP;
  • those bodies dealing in faith and religion that practise or advocate illegal or harmful behaviour, or whose rites and other forms of collective observance are not generally accessible to the public or who apply unreasonable pressure on people to join or not opt out;
  • advertisements for food or soft drink products which contain promotional offers targeted directly at pre-school or primary school children (excludes advertisements for fresh fruit and vegetables) or which use licensed characters and celebrities popular with such children;
  • guns (including replica guns), guns clubs, shooting clubs and offensive weapons. Clay pigeon shoots are permitted only as part of a wider range of outdoor pursuits;
  • homeworking schemes that make a charge or deposit to obtain information about the scheme;
  • advertisements for infant formula;
  • obscene material, R18 material, prostitution and sexual massage services;
  • advertisements of a ‘political nature’ or which have a ‘political end’;
  • prescription-only medicines available from GPs only (e.g. botox);
  • products for the treatment of alcohol and illegal-substance dependence (excludes qualified clinicians/rehabilitation clinics);
  • pyramid promotional schemes;
  • services offering medicines prescription or medical treatment remotely, e.g. via a website or via distance selling;
  • slimming/weight control products or services targeted at obese people only (excludes qualified clinicians and hospitals offering weight loss surgery and non-prescription medicines for the treatment of obesity which involve pharmacists).
  • offers to treat cancer, to prescribe treatment for cancer, or give advice in connection with a cancer treatment (with the exception of local authorities)

Advertisements must not indirectly promote an unacceptable product or service. For example, advertisements must not refer consumers to a website if a significant part of that website promotes a prohibited product.
These financial categories of advertisement may only be broadcast on specialised financial radio stations or radio programming:

  • advertisements for the acquisition or disposal of derivatives, warrants or other transferable securities (such as shares) that are not on the Official List of the FCA or admitted to trading on a Regulated Market in the UK or other EEA State (as defined by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive);
  • advertisements for spread betting, as an investment only; they must comply with Section 17 on Gambling of the BCAP Code;
  • advertisements for contracts for differences (except spread betting), provided the products are available only to clients who have demonstrated through an appropriate pre-vetting procedure that they have relevant financial trading experience;
  • advertisements for investments not regulated or permitted under FSMA.
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