What is involved in legally “clearing” an ad?

You have developed a new product or are launching a new campaign. So what’s involved in “clearing” an ad?

You need to check the content carefully: something that seems funny may be offensive or discriminatory.

Check that you haven’t infringed someone else’s copyright or trademark (eg by using a photo or expression belonging to someone else).

Make sure you have registered your own trade marks and domain names.

Avoid comparative advertising unless you are truly comparing "like for like".

Leaving out an important condition may be misleading. If there are conditions, highlight them. Keep your message simple and clear.

Do you have the resources to do what you offer? If you are offering prizes for a competition, check the conditions carefully. Remember the Pepsico Points case.

Does your pricing model take into account different scenarios?

Have you considered tax issues?

Have you done full “specifications” of the product?

What are the pros and cons? Costs/benefits?

What are your most important objectives?

Can compromises be made?

Is there any ambiguity? Have you conducted usability testing to see that an outsider understands what you are saying?

Are the product terms and advertising goals fully documented?

Have you considered the effect of the ad in different media? How will it look and sound on TV, the radio or internet as opposed to print? Is the ad legible, the voiceover clear?

And of course check for Credit Code and FSR compliance, as applicable.

If you haven’t properly planned your advertising and it does not achieve the intended effect, you may have to withdraw the new product.

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