Winter is coming. It’s as true here at Clearcast as it is in Westeros, and winter means one thing above all others.
No, not an army of the undead. At Clearcast winter means unending discussion about fireplaces. It’s a glamourous life in ad compliance.
While there are few things as Christmassy as snuggling up by a roaring fire with stockings hanging either side, the reality of including this kind of image in a TV ad has historically been a bit more complicated.
Those who’ve been in the industry for a fair few years may have experienced ads being rejected for mirrors hanging over fireplaces, featuring any kind of decorations on the mantelpiece and more. Could this be true? Was Clearcast the Grinch of yesteryear?
Well, yes and no. While these used to be big no-nos, it was due to guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA). What would then happen every year would be a deluge of last-minute Christmas ads, all with festooned fireplaces, all needing to be re-edited in short order. With Christmas deadlines approaching, it served to heighten what was already a stressful time right across the industry.
A couple of years ago we decided to revisit our fireplace policy. It was a tricky debate – our policy had been quite strict for a number of years, though we were minded to relax our position. We normally make that kind of decision based on ASA precedent, but as we had been so strict there hadn’t been any ASA rulings. More festive heads prevailed, and our policy was relaxed.
So what is the Clearcast policy on fireplaces?
These days we’re happy with a mirror hanging above the fireplace. Not only that, but decorations on the mantelpiece are fine too, so long as nothing is dangling down. Stockings are also allowed but must be hanging to the side of the fireplace, rather than in front of the fire. Of course all of this is dependent on some basic fire safety – there should be a fireguard present if there are decorations shown, and the fire itself shouldn’t be roaring out of control.
Those are the main guidelines, but do be aware that fireplaces are looked at on a case by case basis. Anything that looks like a fire hazard is likely to be rejected – candles nestled among decorations or stockings too close to flames for example. If in doubt, knock together a sketch or find an example image and pass it over to your Clearcast contact for a look.
Jonathan Laury, Communications Executive, Clearcast Ltd