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Advertising classifications of films and videogames

This page explains the requirements in New Zealand for including film and game classification or rating information in film and game advertisements. There are specific requirements for advertising in different formats. The formats are: print advertising (such as posters, newspapers and magazines), trailers that are screened in cinemas or on television, online, and radio advertisements.

Pasting film posters to a wall in Cairo, Egypt

Posters, slicks or other printed pictorial advertisements (in relation to a film or game) must be approved by the Film and Video Labelling Body before being displayed in stores, cinemas, or other places where films or games are supplied or exhibited to the public.

Film and game advertising in print formats must include the classification or rating symbol and descriptive note that the film or game has received. Use a copy of the film or game's label where possible.

Checklist for displaying classification information in print advertising:

  • The content of the label must be easily readable, including the descriptive note
  • The content of the label must be placed next to the title of the film
  • On a poster, the content of the label must be in letters that are at least 2cm high
  • In a newspaper, the content of the label must be in letters no smaller than 6 point font.
Once Were Warriors poster

Cinema and TV advertising: how to show classifications in trailers for films and games

Trailers advertising films or games in cinemas or on TV must show a film or game's classification or rating symbol along with the descriptive note. The label must be clearly legible for at least 5 seconds. In cinemas the label must be displayed immediately after the trailer has ended, on television the label can be displayed at any time during the advertisement/commercial. 

Note that trailers must be rated or classified before they are exhibited in cinemas.

For more information about getting trailers rated, read about how to submit films and games for classification.

Trailers should be selected and scheduled in accordance with industry guidelines.

Read more about selecting trailers for exhibition on our page about exhibiting films to the public

Online advertising

Regulations are not specific about requirements for online advertising of classification information. Note that classification requirements for online content are currently being reviewed by the New Zealand Government.

We recommend that the classification (eg M, R13, R16) and descriptive note (eg 'contains violence') be displayed on online advertising material (such as a website banner) in a way that is easily readable to people browsing on a website. Classification information should appear next to the title of the film.

We recommend that online trailers display the classification symbol, an explanation of that symbol (eg M 'recommended for mature audiences 16 years and over') and the descriptive note. This information should be displayed legibly on the screen for at least 5 seconds.

Radio advertising: how to include classification information for films and games

Radio advertisements for a film or game must include a statement at the end of the advertisement describing the rating or classification for the film or game. The statement must specify:

  • The rating or classification symbol, for example 'R13', 'M', 'G'
  • The descriptive note, for example 'contains violence'
Vintage radio