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Inclusion Disability Leadership Accessibility

Survey results reveal top 4 barriers and solutions to creating accessible ads



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June 29, 2023 | 5 min read

Research suggests that only 40% of ads are subtitled, with even fewer using sign language or audio description to make ad experiences easier for people with sensory disabilities

Research suggests that only 40% of ads are subtitled, with even fewer using sign language or audio description to make ad experiences easier for people with sensory disabilities.

And, with around 12 million people in the UK being deaf or hard of hearing, and a further 2 million people living with sight loss, there’s never been a better time for brands, broadcasters and creative agencies to collectively ensure that ads are inclusive to anyone and everyone.

With this in mind, Clearcast set out to make a change. With the support of our shareholder broadcasters and industry bodies Thinkbox, the Advertising Association, ISBA, the IPA and the British Arrows, we launched our Accessible Ads for All’ campaign in March. To kick things off, we ran a survey to pulse check the market concerning accessibility of TV ads and what we can all do together to change it for the better.

From March 3rd to April 18th, we invited stakeholders from a variety of positions and backgrounds in the industry to complete a survey to understand more about current attitudes, practices and what the barriers are to making more ads accessible.

Below are the key barriers and survey insights, and how this information can help us make a positive impact going forward.

In summary the report tells us that from the small, but interested sample, more people had subtitled (3/4) than audio described (1/4) or signed (1/10) their ads in the last 12 months and the main barriers to making more ads accessible are:

  • Lack of knowledge (4/10)
  • Cost (4/10)
  • Timing (1/3)
  • Creative considerations (1/5)

Key takeaways from Clearcast’s ‘Accessible Ads for All’ survey for you to consider:

Think accessibility first

A barrier identified in the survey to making more ads accessible was time and cost so we recommend working-in costs and which features of accessibility you’d like to use as early as possible to make sure accessibility is a foundational part of the ad with all stakeholders. If you include accessibility in your initial processes when creating an ad, it’ll become standard practice.

Follow the guidance

To address the identified barrier of ‘lack of knowledge’ in accessible advertising, one of our actions from the survey was to form a working group (which 6/10 survey respondents were interested in joining) in collaboration with the relevant industry bodies and experts in accessibility. The goals of these sessions are to share knowledge and experience and to produce collectively agreed best-practice guidelines on accessible ads. These wheels are now in motion so please get in touch if you’d like to receive this guidance once it’s complete.

Go on Accessible Ads training

In a further bid to broaden knowledge on this topic and to help with the barrier identified of ‘Creative considerations', we’re delighted to announce we’re developing an ‘Accessible Ads’ training course with RNIB (Royal National Institute of the Blind) and RNID (Royal National Institute of the Deaf). An overwhelming majority of respondents (9/10) said that they would be interested in a training course for accessible advertising. Further updates on this will come soon but keep an eye on our Training page or email us to request updates.

Tell us when you’re making your ads accessible

We know that statistics help drive action. The idea of us tracking levels of accessible ads was backed by 9/10 respondents, so we’re encouraging those who submit their ads to The Clearcast Library to tick the box that tells us if ads are audio described and subtitled, so that we can feed these figures back to the industry to help drive change and report on rising levels.

If you’d like to read the full survey report, complete with methodology and in-depth statistics, you can find it here.

There is plenty of work to be done to make ads more inclusive across the board, but this survey provides an invaluable start to making a positive impact. Watch this space for news and exciting updates on accessible advertising.

Inclusion Disability Leadership Accessibility


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