Christmas ad accessibility: Marks and Spencer

Monday 17th December – the kids are all looking forward to finishing school this week, and us grown ups are still hard at it. So treat yourself to a hot drink and warm yourself with a childhood character, Paddington bear in todays Christmas Advert advent review.


Marks and Spencer are off to a fantastic start, there are captions and not the automatically generated auto captions from YouTube. With excellent use of square brackets to distinguish noises and spoken words.

Screenshot of Marks and Spencer advert making full using of square brackets to show shounds [Gasp] Santa? and the spoken word

Audio description

There is no audio description version of this advert, which is a shame. Some elements simply can’t be understood just be understood listening to the advert and the words alone – things like the window hitting the thief, or Paddington and the Thief watching Alice open her presents on Christmas day.


There is an automatic transcript created from YouTube to accompany this video. If I wanted to be really picky I’d suggest adding names at the start of sentences spoken by Paddington and his visitor – the thief as this would give the transcript much more meaning to anyone just reading it.

The video description doesn’t add any additional details to the advert story but does provide a link to an interview with Paddington on the Marks and Spencer website, this does hint more at Paddingtons thoughts of the ‘incident’ but by itself can’t be classed as a transcript.

Accessible video player

The video is featured on the Marks and Spencer website but this is not keyboard accessible, as we tab around the page it takes us to a link to read Paddingtons interview but not to the embedded video. This can only be accessed using a mouse making this inaccessible to blind users and those with mobility issues which restrict them from using a mouse.

The verdict

The advert started off fantastically in our review with the captions, sadly though with the lack of audio description, detailed transcript or accessible video player this does exclude blind customers fully, and the website excludes those who cannot use a mouse. With a little more thought, and just a small amount of time this could have been fantastically accessible.