Compliance of Ads With Audio Description

15th June 2017

Some advertisers wish to audio describe (AD) their broadcast ads, achieved by adding an additional soundtrack which, for the benefit of blind and partially-sighted viewers, describes the visuals of an ad. There is no obligation for advertisers to do this and there is also no obligation for all elements of the visuals in an ad to be described.


Like all other ads that are broadcast, ads that include AD need to comply with the BCAP Code and, at the request of Clearcast’s shareholder broadcasters, need to be cleared by Clearcast in the usual way.  You can see our clearance process here


So that the normal clearance process can be followed we expect pre-production scripts, as well as detailing both the visuals and voice over, to include the exact wording that will be used to AD ads.  As AD is an added element to an ad, we recommend that advertisers and agencies give some extra time for clearance to allow Clearcast to assess it.


Post-production films should include the additional AD track as specified by the CopyCentral Digital File Specification Guide here.  If additional help is needed please email


All viewers should be able to consume ads in a meaningful way and, because many contain either mandatory or qualifying text as well as other text such as pricing, advertisers should note that not all such ads will lend themselves to AD because it may not be possible to describe both superimposed text and visuals.  Advertisers and agencies are therefore encouraged to consider carefully the ads they choose to AD.


The BCAP Regulatory Policy team has published a statement indicating that broadcast and non-broadcast ads with access services, including those with AD, should comply with the BCAP and CAP Codes.  The statement says the ASA, in considering complaints about ads with AD may well assess only the AD and other audio elements, and not the visuals against the Code. The full statement can be read here.