The updates follow on a request made by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for evidence and research on the use of such text in broadcast adverts. The research published by the ASA indicated that viewers generally found it difficult to read and understand supers for a number reasons: the main ones being the use of text which did not contrast well with the background, and stretching or elongating the text in the super.
The guidance includes enhanced requirements around the following:
- Qualifying information: sufficient emphasis must be given to this information, particularly where it is significant.
- Colour contrast: there should be adequate contrast between the text and the background.
- Fonts: should not be stretched or elongated, and shadowing or edging effects should be avoided as it may blur the text.
- Position and length: the text should be centred at the bottom of the screen. Shorter supers are generally preferred to full-line ones.
- Viewing time: text must remain on screen long enough to allow viewers sufficient time to read it.
- Numbers and calculations: where the super includes numbers, viewers should not be expected to make additional calculations to have the full understanding of the information that is being presented.
The guidance comes into effect on 1 March 2019. The ASA indicated that there will be an initial grace period of six months during which it will give advertisers advice on how to improve supers that may breach the revised guidance. Formal enforcement will be considered by the ASA from 1 September 2019. BCAP plan to engage with advertisers in the immediate term to assist in implementation.