Commercial, Down Syndrome, Industry Awards

How Could The Ad of the Year Be Such a Loser?

The luster of Paralympics gold is waning in the minds of advertisers and agencies (not that it shined brightly among marketers in the first place), but advertising and disability continues to win big…sort of. This year, at the 10th Annual ADCOLOR Awards, which is the advertising industry’s premier event recognizing work that promotes diversity and multiculturalism, the Ad Of The Year went to “How Do You See Me.” Produced by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad was for CoorDown, Italy’s national organization for people with Down syndrome, but the well-intentioned ad has actually generated heated conversations and negative commentary among many vocal advocates in the disability community. Continue reading


Ads In Australia Can Be Inclusive For More Than A Day

Two advertising campaigns show, for better and worse the opportunities and pitfalls of diversity and disability inclusion.

What was touted as one of the of the most diversity-friendly commercials to date, to promote enjoying lamb on Australia Day, was in fact one of the worst examples of progressive inclusion in media. Continue reading

Changing The Face of Beauty

Disability: From Ugly To Beautiful

What if you were fined for just being out and about and walking down the sidewalk…because you were considered ugly? I’m not talking about the Fashion Police that could jokingly fine you if  you’re caught wearing a combination of plaid and paisley. From the late 1800’s to the mid 1970’s, several larger cities across America had so-called Ugly Laws, that would fine people, most often those with disabilities, up to $50 for just being out in public. These laws not only tried to enforce people from being outside and in public places , but also created a stigma among family members, caretakers and the people with disabilities themselves, that they were lesser than, not deserving of, or in any way part of normal society. Continue reading

advertising, Amputee Advertising, disability

How amputees became the disabled darlings of Madison Avenue

Recently Campaign Live, an advertising industry media outlet, published several articles tied to increasing visibility of advertising and disability. Journalist I-Hsien Sherwood wrote groundbreaking editorial tied to advertising and disability. Prior to this article, whenever advertising and disability was covered by major industry media outlets like Adweek or AdAge, typically the focus of the story centered around one ad and the person or persons with a disability featured therein. Sherwood takes a more global perspective and posits the reasons for the rise in amputees being featured in advertising. In the article I was able to share commentary on the current state of disability in advertising. Continue reading

Olympics, Paralympics

Britain Wins Gold For Disability Adverts

Pictured in the featured image are USA athlete Tatyana McFadden and British athletes Hannah Cockcroft and Melissa Nichols celebrating victories and holding up their respective country’s flag.

But what if the Paralympics competitions expanded into awarding medals for each country’s best inclusion of people with disabilities in advertising? Britain would be leagues ahead of the U.S.A., and here’s why. Continue reading

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Olympics, Paralympics, Social Justice, Toykyo 2020

How Will Sagamihara Shape The 2020 Tokyo Paralymics Disability Stories?

The Rio Paralympics haven’t even started, and the games are already in a crisis of shifted funding for athlete participation, diminished staff and potentially empty stands. But the Sagamihara massacre and Japan’s surrounding miasma dealing with disability, make these hurdles seem small compared to what lies ahead for the games, athletes, advertisers and so many others when Tokyo hosts the Paralympics in 2020. Continue reading

advertising, Automotive Advertising, disability, Jaguar, Wheelchair

Advertising & Disability at a Crossroads: Stop typecasting and using us as props.

I love everything about Jaguar cars and I’m a big fan of Stephen Hawking, but the combination of the two in the British auto brand’s latest advertisement left me a bit disappointed. The plot line pulls in James Bond themes with actor Tom Hiddleston, portraying a secret agent and driving the Jaguar F-PACE. The luxury car maneuvers effortlessly across roadways through cinematic vistas to arrive at a futuristic mountain hideaway where Hiddleston meets Stephen Hawking. Watch the commercial before reading any further and come to your own conclusions on what type of character Hawking is supposed to be. Continue reading