Copy Clearance

Top #6 Christmas ad watch outs

It’s that time of the year once again for advertising and all we want for Christmas is lots of brilliant, compliant ads on our screens.

To help you get your ad approved and on-air quickly and smoothly, we’ve bundled together our top six watch-outs for your festive ads. If you have these by your side and get your script to us as early as possible, you’ll be laughing. Here they are:


Be careful with snowball fights. Any thrown to the face can likely get an ‘ex kids’ restriction to keep it away from children’s programming – especially if the recipient isn’t ‘in’ on the game.


Similarly, if your ad suggests Santa is a myth and doesn’t exist, we’d want to keep that away from very young viewers too. Don’t ruin the magic. 


Every year we either reject or ask for amends to any hearths showing hazardous decorations hanging over lit fires. Have a fireguard if the fire’s lit or animals or children are present. If in doubt, knock together a sketch or find an example image and pass it over to us.


At Christmas, we see more alcohol ads than at any other time. Make sure no one looks, and are under 25 – also no tipsy behaviour. The rules are complex so it’s worth reading section 19 of the code at an early stage and if you’ve questions, contact us.


We’ve relaxed our stance on this in recent years. We’re content for religious Christmas carols to be featured in advertising. However, the use of them in some ads may cause offence for instance gambling or alcohol or violent treatments – so best check with your Clearcast contact.


If your toy costs £30 or more you must state that. Are batteries included? Is it that big? Does it move that way and sound like that? Demonstrate what it can do accurately. We don’t want to let children down on Christmas day by an ad they saw.

Always remember

Make sure what’s on screen, is in store

Over the years we’ve seen ads come through to us featuring items that aren’t always available in a particular store. It can be confusing for consumers when there’s a mix of purchasable items and items made specifically for your ad. So ideally, advertisers should avoid anything that is prominent that is not a purchasable item. It’s not specifically a Christmas issue, but it can become an issue during the festive period when people are spending more.

Credit consumer ads – be mindful this Christmas

Keep an eye on your consumer credit ads, especially those that imply that taking out credit is appropriate for frivolous purchases like shopping and presents as this is likely be deemed socially irresponsible. There’s been relevant ASA rulings over the past few years around the festive period, for example, this ruling from 2020. CAP has a useful page on its website with more info here.

Get your ad to us as early as possible

All ads are looked at on a case-by-case basis so make sure to get your script to us as early as possible so we can iron out any issues early on.

We’re here to help get your ad to air

We’re here to help in many other ways beyond clearance. We can train your teams on sector-specific ad rules and processes, help develop your creative, or if you’re just short on time and want us to manage the process, we can.

If you have any questions about this blog or anything else please get in contact.

23rd September 2022