Making festive ads accessible for everyone this Christmas

News December 16, 2019

Over two million people in the UK live with sight loss, equating to one person in 30. Audio description (AD) is additional commentary that explains in detail what’s happening on the screen. AD describes body language, expressions and movements, making a programme or TV advert clearer through sound.


Our London studio is home to Adtext, which creates audio description for commercials. Check out below three festive adverts from 2019 which we audio described.

Asda | Let’s Make Christmas Extra Special

KFC | Good Luck on the 25th

eBay | Christmas Chill

June Johnson, Managing Director of Adtext comments, “Encouraging broadcasters and advertisers to adopt audio description for commercials has been a passion of mine for some years.  Public Health England promoting ‘Cancer Awareness’ was the first commercial to be transmitted with AD, thanks to C5 making an exception to their normal playout process.  However, it was my lobbying to Bill Brown, Head of Media Standards at ITV that made real inroads into provision, when they launched this service for all advertisers. Their lead was followed by C4 and Viacom and, as a result, over 50% of the UK’s commercial television viewership can now receive audio description with commercials. Early adopters included BT, Procter & Gamble and Plusnet. However, it is this Christmas that has seen adoption accelerate. A thank-you to all of our clients that made sure EVERYONE gets to enjoy the Christmas ads this year!”

“Christmas TV adverts are an essential highlight of the UK’s festive culture and we believe that everyone should be able to take part in the conversation around them, no matter how they see. We encourage retailers to make all of their advertising campaigns accessible. In the UK, we have a flourishing industry of AD providers, with several brands already providing audio description for their TV commercials. It is one of the most straightforward assets to produce and the RNIB are happy to support retailers on this journey, which in turn will help them reach a wider audience and grow their brand,” says Matt Stringer, CEO of the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

The latest research shows the spending power of disabled people as consumers is £212 billion (source Procter & Gamble).  Fully accessible commercials will ensure that this spending power is harnessed by clients.