One of the joys of recording television programmes is that you can fast-forward through the adverts.
Alternatively, you can use them as handy waypoints through the programme, allowing you time to do the washing-up, make quick phone calls, check your email and a host of other useful things.
When I do let them run, I take very little notice of them. Apart from the meerkats and occasional tunes such as “Right said Fred” being used for an equity release ad, I couldn’t tell you the straplines or identifying features of many of them.
However, a while ago I pricked up my ears. I suddenly realised I was hearing audio-description – in an ad! Guess who it was for? Specsavers!
Someone in marketing had actually thought seriously about their potential target audience and realised that some of them might not have very good eyesight!
You may be thinking, “But that’s obvious, isn’t it?”
No, it isn’t.
As I have described in previous blogs, even people who are directly concerned with visual impairment don’t always get it right.
Next, I noticed that Amazon’s Alexa ads are audio-described. This does make sense because they appear in association with RNIB.
I started to listen more carefully.
I was quite excited when I found myself hearing the Asda Christmas ad described.
“Aha,” I thought, “other stores have elaborate Christmas ads too. I wonder whether M&S and John Lewis will follow suit?”
Lo and behold, M&S’s Christmas advert is also audio-described.
You may be wondering why I’m getting so excited about this. After all, I’ve already said that I generally don’t pay any attention to advertisements.
Well, it shows that marketing departments are starting to take visually-impaired people seriously. And so they should! We are real people, potential customers with economic agency.
I promise you, this is a step forward. We may not be in the brave new world yet but we are getting there.
Oh, and the other reason for my excitement?
I love Christmas.
I’m still listening out for the John Lewis ad, by the way, fingers crossed and hovering over the fast forward button!