Campaigners trying to persuade companies to use more disabled
people in advertising say they are on the verge of a double
One advertiser has told them it will be featuring disabled people in an
upcoming TV campaign while another has committed itself to using them in
ads on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, the subject is expected to be among the topics under
discussion by executives of major companies and government officials at
a conference next Thursday.
Ogilvy & Mather will be the ad industry’s representative at the event,
organised by the Employers’ Forum on Disability, which will include
representatives from about 300 groups including BT, Boots, Sainsbury’s
The Forum is one of four organisations trying to capitalise on changing
legislation and public attitudes towards the disabled and to make
advertisers as conscious of the needs of disabled people as their US
Jeremy Hughes, the public affairs manager of the Leonard Cheshire
Foundation, one of the groups backing the campaign (called VisABLE),
said: ’We’re not asking companies to increase their ad budgets or to
produce disabled-specific ads.
’We’re trying to bring about a sea-change in the industry and to show
that disabled people don’t just buy wheelchairs, but have considerable
The campaign is targeting advertisers which are market leaders in their
sector and which run people-led advertising with a request to contribute
pounds 5,000 towards the cost of the initiative.
Another plan under consideration is to ask creative awards organisers to
consider including a ’social inclusion’ category in which advertising
featuring disabled people might be represented.