British Board of Film Classification

Quick search of releases

Advanced search

Public Information / Campaigning Films

The BBFC classifies public information/campaigning films for theatrical classification on behalf of local licensing authorities who license cinemas under the Licensing Act 2003.

As of 31 March 2016 the classification of theatrical advertisements that are paid-for messages for commercial goods or services is delegated to the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA). We define a public information/campaigning film as a work that is not a paid-for message for a commercial good or service. 

Read more about the deregulation of Cinema Advertising in our customer Q and A.

Do I need to submit my work for classification?

All theatrical public information/campaigning films must be submitted for classification, unless permission is granted by the licensing authority in the area that the work is to be shown. Additionally any advertisement for tie-in film content, content for a television programme or a series for a streaming service should be submitted as a Public Information/Campaigning Film.

What can/can't I submit?

All public information/campaigning films submitted to the BBFC for classification must be the full, final edit in the correct screen ratio with final sound mix.

The BBFC can accept theatrical public information/campaigning films in the following ways:

  • 2D content can be submitted as an MP4 file, or on DVD, Blu-ray disc or DCP
  • 3D content can be submitted as an MP4 file or on Blu-ray disc

Any work to be distributed in both 2D and 3D may require separate submissions as the different formats have the potential to raise differing classification issues. There is a concessionary rate available in some cases. Further details are available here.

Please see our general technical requirements for submissions.

How do I submit?

In order to submit a work please make an entry on our extranet service.

If you do not have an account you may request one

How much does it cost?

Visit our fees page to calculate your cost. 

Displaying the BBFC’s age rating

The public information / campaigning film should display the appropriate BBFC age rating symbol on screen for a minimum of five seconds, before the work begins or burnt into the bottom left- or right-hand corner of the film itself.

Please contact us on if you would like us to send you hi-res copies of the symbols.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

If you require a fast turnaround you may wish to consider our Pre-Booking Express Service.

We also provide an advice service to help you establish what rating an unfinished work may receive. 


Deregulation of Cinema Advertising – Q&A

Will the CAA be applying the BBFC’s age ratings to advertisements?

No, the CAA will continue to apply the terms of the CAP Code to advertisements. Where a public information / campaigning film has additionally been classified by the BBFC, that film will receive a BBFC age rating and should display the BBFC’s age rating on screen in cinemas.

I have a public information / campaigning film that I would like to show in cinemas. To whom do I send it?

Please submit it to both the BBFC and the CAA. The BBFC will consider it for classification under its Guidelines and the CAA will consider it for classification in line with the CAP Code.

How do I submit a public information / campaigning film to the BBFC?

Please submit it in exactly the same way you are used to submitting cinema advertisements to the BBFC. The only difference will be that, rather than an “advertisement” submission form, there will be a “public information / campaigning film” submission form on the BBFC extranet that you should fill in to get the process under way.

What do I do if I am unsure if my film is an advertisement or a public information / campaigning film?

Please contact the BBFC Helpline ( / 02074400299) and we will be happy to advise you.

I have an advertisement that includes clips from a film/TV show, will this need classification?

Any content that would normally be classified by the BBFC for cinema, DVD/Blu-ray, or Video-On-Demand should be submitted to the BBFC as a Public Information/Campaigning Film and to the CAA. This includes any advertisement for tie-in film content and content for a television programme/series for a streaming service.

Does an advertisement for public sector information / awareness count as a public service film (e.g. police federation advertisements, drink / drive advertisements)?

Yes. You should therefore submit it to the BBFC and the CAA.

How will advertisements for schools or higher education be categorised?

These will be categorised as advertisements, and so classified by the CAA only.

How will charity campaigns be categorised (e.g. the RNLI, Guide Dogs For The Blind)?

These will be categorised as public campaigning films, and so classified by the BBFC. You should therefore submit it to the BBFC and the CAA.

Will the likes of public service and charity campaigns require the use of the BBFC symbol in the bottom corner of the screen?

Yes, as the BBFC will still classify such works.

If my advertisement has only been assessed and classified by the CAA, does this mean that when it goes out in cinemas there won’t be an age rating displayed on screen for it?

Yes. The CAA will, as they do now, have issued you a confirmation of the age suitability of your advert, so that you can place it within the programme of a suitable corresponding film.

Do advertisements for video games still have to adhere to BBFC rules regarding PEGI logos?

No, because as the BBFC will not be classifying these advertisements any longer, there will be no risk that the cinema audience will mistake the rating of the game for the rating of the advertisement.


Share this!

Facebook logo Twitter logo