Giffgaff launches TV ad in British Sign Language

Ad from Stink Studios features an animated version of Giffgaff member Aleks communicating in sign language.

Giffgaff: ad was created at the suggestion of member Aleks
Giffgaff: ad was created at the suggestion of member Aleks

Giffgaff has responded to a challenge from one its members who is deaf by creating a TV ad in British Sign Language (BSL).

The 30-second spot, created by Stink Studios, is part of a campaign launching today across TV and video-on-demand that will run until early October.

It features an animated avatar of Giffgaff customer Aleks, using BSL to explain the reasons he likes Giffgaff, while text in English appears alongside him to translate for those who don’t use BSL.

“As a Giffgaff member, I love connecting with REAL people from the community when I need help, or just want to chat – about anything from photography, to coding, to mental health,” he says.

“Also, Giffgaff’s value and flexibility is amazing,” he adds, before outlining some of the benefits of the brand.

A second animated ad with a spoken voiceover will run in equal rotation and promote’s Giffgaff’s “golden goodybag”, which offers customers 10GB of data for £10.

The ads were created by Duncan Temple, Jess Ardizzone, Arman Naji and Simon Cheadle, while the motion design director is Stink Studios’ Tim Gardiner. The media agency is Havas.

Giffgaff and Stink worked with Manchester Deaf Centre and Remark!, a BSL organisation led by deaf people, on the campaign.

Abi Pearl, head of advertising at Giffgaff, said: “When we were first approached by our member Aleks and asked to create an ad that was more inclusive of the deaf community – we embraced the challenge. As the mobile network run by you, not only were we excited about the idea of co-creating with a member – but we were treading entirely new waters around inclusivity in advertising – an area that remains largely untapped.

“There was a lot to learn, and we couldn’t have done it without the experts. A big thank you to the Manchester Deaf Centre who gave us Deaf Awareness Training, as well as Remark!, who helped Stink Studios with interpreting and British Sign Language. It has, hands down, been one of the most rewarding ads I’ve ever worked on.”

Caleigh Kimberley, producer at Stink Studios, added: “What made creating this piece of work so gratifying was the opportunity to consider inclusion from the outset of the creative development process.

“We work on heaps of campaigns – all unique and fun in their own right. But this campaign felt different, because it’s accessible to an entirely different audience. We’d love to do more work like this where we get the chance to work with real people – for real people.”

According to the British Deaf Association, there were an estimated 151,000 users of British Sign Language in the UK in 2016, making it one of the most widely used minority languages, along with the likes of Welsh, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu.

It is not commonly seen in advertising; in 2018, however, Aldi partnered with ITV to run a full ad break that was accessible to BSL users. It features an original ad in BSL for the supermarket, created by McCann Manchester, along with existing ads for other brands accompanied by a BSL interpreter.

Last month, Channel 4 partnered with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and six brands to run an ad break featuring audio description, improving accessibility for blind and partially sighted people.

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