BBFC & CAA Relationship

Prior to 1 April 2016, all material appearing in the cinema advertising reel had to be classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) as well as being approved by the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) Copy Panel under the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP code).

In the area of taste, decency and the protection of children, the BBFC guidelines and the CAP code duplicate one another in their intent. The BBFC and the Cinema Advertising Association therefore agreed that the BBFC would delegate its legal obligation to classify the bulk of cinema screen advertising to The CAA Copy Panel alone.


The BBFC final legal obligation remains in force and to ensure good communications between the BBFC and The CAA, the Director of the BBFC is appointed to The CAA Board in a non-executive capacity. This has resulted in a much speedier clearance service for most cinema commercials.

The BBFC retains its active classification of cinema advertising in the areas of public information advertising, charities, and any commercials featuring clips or scenes from feature films or TV programs whether broadcast, streamed, or downloadable. Nevertheless, these must also be approved by The CAA Copy Panel under the CAP codes. If application of the BBFC guidelines and the CAP code result in different levels of restriction being given to the work in question, then the most restrictive judgement is taken to be effective.