“This just in…”

From time to time I like to remind clients of specific network guidelines to keep in mind when developing advertising. One such guideline is News Simulation.

Per the network guidelines, commercial announcements that simulate news reports or news broadcasts through the use of newsroom or newsgathering techniques; through the use of any person purporting to be a news announcer or news reporter; or through the use of lead-in material that may mislead the audience to assume that it is about to hear a news report or is hearing a news report, are unacceptable.

Advertising may not contain language, visual techniques, or sound effects associated with newscasts when such advertising is likely to confuse or alarm the audience, or trivialize actual newscasts. Examples of language that is unacceptable may include:

  • “Bulletin”
  • “Flash”
  • “Live”
  • “Special Report”
  • “We interrupt this program to bring you…”

Examples of techniques that are unacceptable may include:

  • Horizontal crawls at the bottom one-third of the screen
  • Teletype sound effects
  • Station call letters or numbers

The networks are very careful not to accept advertising that may confuse viewers into thinking they are watching an actual news bulletin or broadcast. So if you have plans to create advertising that utilizes news techniques, make sure your creative complies with the network guidelines. And remember, when in doubt, ask questions. The network editors are there to answer any questions you may have.

Marilyn Colaninno is Director of Rights and Clearances for Reed Smith and is responsible for clearing commercials for the firm’s many clients in the advertising industry. If you have specific questions, please contact Marilyn directly at 212 549 0347 or at mcolaninno@reedsmith.com