It looks like Christmas will be coming earlier to a TV screen near you – whether you like it or not. RTE is apparently considering lifting its self-imposed ban on early festive ads, according to a front-page story in The Sunday Business Post.

Struggling retailers are already looking to place Christmas ads and the national broadcaster is not exactly in a position to resist, given the dearth of advertising revenues in the current climate. Halloween is normally the start of the Christmas ads season but this year it would appear Santa and his little helpers are dying to get in front of us this month too.

There are no external rules governing Christmas ads aimed at adults prior to November 1, so it is open season if RTE wishes to run them. However, Christmas ads aimed at children can’t air until after Halloween.

It would appear RTE is amenable to airing Christmas ads early but officially it remains “undecided”. However, a source quoted by the newspaper was less reticent.

“Those internal rules were put in place when the world was a more affluent place,” an RTE source said.

Tesco Ireland has already managed to advertise toys for Christmas without referring directly to the feast day. The retailer has run toy ads mentioning that a “special date” is coming up in December.  The ad has attracted no complaints from the public so far – maybe they can’t guess what that special date might be!

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