International Standardized Commercial Identifier

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An Industry Standardized Commercial Identifier (ISCI) code conforms to a standard used to identify commercials (aka "spots") aired on commercial television worldwide, for TV stations, ad agencies, video post-production houses, radio stations and other related entities to identify commercials for airing.

It was first developed in 1970 by and for American local affiliate TV stations, the TV networks that serve the affiliates, and ad agencies, to distribute commercial television advertisements more efficiently. The ISCI coding system was maintained and operated by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) from 1992 until 2007, when it was replaced by "Ad-ID".[1] Prior to then, ISCI was independently maintained by its users.

An ISCI code was a set of 8 characters, the first four being alphabetic, and the remaining four being numeric, in the format 'ABCD1234' . The alphabetical characters usually represented the advertiser (some examples are QWAN for Wells Fargo Bank, KOCL for Coca-Cola, and PEMX for Pepsi), and the numeric characters were determined by the individual creating the code, with different numbers used for either different spots, or different versions of the same spot.

For example, a :30 second spot might have had a code of XECA1263, while the same commercial in a shortened :20 or :15 version (or in a different language such as Spanish) might have had a slightly different code of XECA1264. The ISCI code was unique to each individual commercial. The slightest change to an ad led to the use of another code.

ISCI codes were usually printed on the video cassette label of a commercial, as well as being present in the production slate and/or countdown preceding the commercial on the tape or on digitally transmitted files through SpotShop, MIJO, Extreme Reach, Telestream, DG, Firstspin, Slingspot, or other media distributors used by the industry.

The ISCI coding system was replaced by a new system developed by the 4A's & ANA called "Ad-ID". Ad-ID is the industry standard for identifying advertiser assets across all media platforms. Ad-ID codes are 11 characters, except for HD or 3D codes which are 12 characters. Ad-ID greatly improves workflow between agency, advertiser, media and their associated vendors, and removes the need for excessive human intervention and mistakes.


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