Ever wonder, what makes a good commercial? For one, it has to have some appropriate touch of humor and it has to make sense. Needless to say, it has to be effective enough to make people buy the product or subscribe to the service. But more than the technicalities of creating a commercial that leaves a mark on the buying audience, ultimately, it has to pass the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations for television advertisements.
Society is well aware that children are most vulnerable to unfiltered commercials as they spend a lot of time watching TV. As such, parental monitoring and guidance is advised but the fact is, you can never be there 100% of the time. To help minimize this dilemma, FCC has ruled out the concept of host selling which is a commercial marketing strategy where the advertisement aims to sell the product using TV characters in such a way that children get confused if the commercial is part of the program or it is marketing. This ruling is focused on standardizing TV commercials and to give the audience a clear distinction between a TV program and a TV advertisement. This is important to help the public make an informed decision when buying certain products and for children to have a good understanding of things they see on TV.
Commercials concerning political candidates during election seasons are also regulated by the FCC. One of the major rules it established is that of an equal opportunity among candidates. This means when a candidate buys commercial airtime, either through an interview or a regular ad, the advertising company must give an equal opportunity to the other candidates. This allows the viewers to have a balanced take on the qualifications of the candidates rather than make assumptions based on television exposure. It has also been ruled that advertising companies cannot charge political candidates more than other advertisers to give candidates of low budget campaigns a chance to be seen on TV.
One of the major advancements in the regulation of television commercials is the ban for cigarette and tobacco commercials. Since 1971, advertisements for cigarettes and tobacco have been axed by the US Congress to prevent its possible influence to the youth and its undeniable ill-effects to human health, particularly lung issues.
Although there is not a ruling when it comes to beer commercials for general television, the NCAA has its own commercial regulation when it comes to beer commercials during its sports games. NCAA specifies that no beer commercial should exceed 60 commercial seconds per hour during a game.
The Federal Communications Commission through Congress is now working out its set of rules dealing with prescription drug advertising. One of the possible targets of their study is the ruling for advertisements with unhealthy food and the possible drug abuses for certain prescription medicines.
With the Obama administration promising strong changes so that everyone gets abreast with the realities of 2009, we can only hope to see better changes in the regulation of TV commercials without causing too much disruptions for advertisers.