This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Disabled Americans Act, a cornerstone of civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. It was also the 75th year that National Disability Employment Awareness Month was celebrated, an important opportunity for employers to understand the importance of creating inclusive hiring practices.
In marketing, brands have evolved, both internally in the way they deal with talent and externally in how they present themselves to the world. Although progress has been made in both areas, there is still considerable room for growth and the opportunity to create a real depth of representation and understanding.
“We can’t just look at disability from an accessibility perspective or show talent in an ad,” said Josh Loebner, director of strategy, diversity, equity and inclusion at Designsensory and a member of Adweek’s DEI Council. “This isn’t about ticking a box, it’s going back to the talent pipeline and recruiting more people with disabilities into advertising.”
Loebner believes that while DEI is critical, he believes that reformulating the language of marketing not only addresses problems, but also provides an even greater chance for marketers and advertisers to understand how to use the practice should.
“It’s really about the creative brief and how that initial creative phase of the development process works [work] where diversity, equity and inclusion – and disability – can be brought into play so early, ”he said, noting that an acronym he prefers is IDEAS.
“It stands for” integrative, diverse, fair, accessible successes, “” said Loebner. “What matters is the ‘achievements’, because all too often brand advertisers think of disability and sometimes diversity as more corporate citizenship as opposed to the business case for diversity and disability inclusion.”
Loebner admits that brands, even those that are making progress, can make mistakes, but that “we have to move forward to welcome disability”.
“In the disabled community there is a sentence:” Nothing about us without us, “said Loebner.” And that can apply to any minority. If you do not want to make mistakes in the creative process, invite someone with a disability for advice and let him participate. “
Even without the Paralympics this year due to the pandemic, Loebner said brands have done a great job all year round. Below are 10 standout traits that he shared.
Microsoft: surface advertising
The latest Microsoft Surface commercial features a family using American Sign Language and seamlessly integrates their joy of using the device with clips from other families. It’s the latest in a series of disability inclusion initiatives from the software giant. While few companies disclose the number of employees with disabilities, Microsoft was one of the first large companies to announce that 6.1% of its employees are considered disabled.
“The great thing about it was that those who used ASL weren’t segmented and isolated to say that this device is for people with disabilities. Rather, the disabled people who were in the advertisement enjoyed the product like everyone else. And that is exactly what helps the commercial to show that people with disabilities use products authentically like everyone else, and it gives it a tone of truth and topicality, ”said Loebner, who describes the brand as one of the most widely recognized commitments to accessibility and disability .
According to Loebner, Microsoft ensures that accessibility and the inclusion of disabilities are deeply integrated into its software products. Microsoft has broken new ground with its Xbox Adaptive campaign.
Comcast / NBCU: Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
The Macy’s 2020 Thanksgiving Parade had to be redesigned due to the pandemic that gave promoters and broadcasters the opportunity to incorporate new techniques. For the first time in the parade’s history, NBCUniversal provided live audio descriptions on the Secondary Audio Program channel. With this audio, blind or visually impaired people can hear additional descriptions of the events that take place outside the hosts or stars on the screen.