Inclusive marketing feature of major conference

May 18, 2017

The inclusion of people with disabilities as models and actors in marketing and promotion is slowly growing, with companies such as Target, Kmart and Aldi featuring disabled models in catalogues.

At the Australian Network on Disability annual conference held in Melbourne on 15 May 2017 Attitude Foundation Director Catia Malaquias presented on inclusive marketing.

As part of her presentation, Malaquias featured an interesting campaign from Italy in 2012 titled “Integration Day” where television commercials were reshot where people with Down syndrome replaced the lead people in the commercials. Along with catalogue reshoots and the replacement of famous television hosts with disabled people, the campaign generated huge interest in mainstream Italian media and boosted inquiries from companies looking to employ people with disabilities.

The campaign was a collaboration between CoorDown (Italian Down syndrome organisation) and Saatchi and Saatchi held on 21 March, which is World Down syndrome day. Participating companies included: Averna, Carrefour, CartaSi, Enel, illy, Pampers and Toyota. In total there were 334 different viewings of commercials that were seen by 18 million people (a third of the Italian population) and generating massive mainstream media coverage.

Malaquias, who founded Starting with Julius, a project aimed at disability inclusive advertising, said, “The Coordown campaign had a great impact as a result of media, disability organisations, advertising agencies and their clients all working together on a very creative idea. As well as the general awareness among the population, there was a 600% increase in enquiries for hiring people with disabilities.”

“What we see now is the evolution of that approach where people with disabilities are starting to be included in mainstream advertising. It’s just reflecting the diversity of our society.”

YouTube versions of the original and CoorDown versions of the commercials are on the Inspiration Room website.

Alex Varley, CEO

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