After public consultation, on 2 January 2018, CAP and BCAP introduced stricter rules prohibiting the sexual portrayal or sexual representation of under-18s, and anyone who looks under 18, in advertising.
These rules strengthen the many existing rules that protect the welfare of under-18s, addressing the potential for some adults to view under-18s in general as sexual beings and for some under-18s to be pressurised to view themselves in this way. They also provide further protection for individual models featured in advertising.
The details of CAP and BCAP’s decision can be found here.
The new CAP (non-broadcast) and BCAP (broadcast) rules are:
4.8 Marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to marketing communications whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.
4.13 Advertisements must not portray or represent anyone who is, or seems to be, under 18 in a sexual way. However, this rule does not apply to advertisements whose principal function is to promote the welfare of, or to prevent harm to, under-18s, provided any sexual portrayal or representation is not excessive.
Here are four key points to bear in mind to ensure compliance with the rules:
- Any degree of sexualisation is banned under the rules.
- The rules don’t just apply to models who are under 18: if a model looks under 18, the ad will be caught by the rules.
- If you would like to make an ad that falls within the exemption in the rules because it promotes the welfare of under-18s or seeks to prevent them from harm (for example, a safe sex message), make sure this is the principal function of the ad, not just an incidental reference.
- Make sure any sexual portrayal in ads designed to protect under-18s is not excessive.
- Gender, sex and relationships
- Children and the vulnerable
- Online, catch-up TV and radio, in-app and in-game
- Mailings, email, phone/fax and messaging
- TV and radio (broadcast only)
- Poster and other out of home
- Newspapers, magazines and printed materials