Christmas Copy Advice

All we want for Christmas is a compliant ad

Every year, as the Autumn draws in and agencies’ thoughts turn to Christmas ads, here at Clearcast we discuss what is acceptable to show in ads with a Christmas theme.


Yes, we accept that Christmas decorations, including the tree, cards, candles, fairy lights and, inevitable cosy log fire are commonly included, but we do ask that care is take in how these are shown so that they don’t look dangerous.

What causes the most debate is what goes on around the fireplace and the real fire. Decorations on the mantelpiece are fine as long as they are not dangling down; decorations in and around the fire, including stockings, shouldn’t be placed too near the flames. Fires themselves shouldn’t look out of control and should have a guard in front of them. In summary, provided no fire or other safety hazard is shown in an ad we will be happy to for ads to be Christmassy themed as an agency wants.


It’s best to stick to carols or Christmas pop songs rather than hymns as their use has the potential to cause offence when used for commercial purposes. We have, however, accepted their inclusion in charity ads where they have been considered appropriate.


Any hint or suggestion about the true identity of Santa will be kept firmly away from the kids with a scheduling restriction.


To make sure children are not disappointed, toy advertising is given special scrutiny to make sure how the toys are shown is not likely to mislead – we may ask for meaningful scale references and to see samples to make sure demonstrations are accurate. Any toy costing £30 or more will need to be priced.

Snowball Fights

Although white Christmases are rare, snow-filled scenes are often included in ads. Be careful with snowball fights – a snowball to the face is likely to attract a scheduling restriction to keep it away from children's programming.

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