This post is my small way to commemorate what would have been the 100th birthday of advertising creative revolutionary Bill Bernbach. From the beginning of his career, personal labels caused him to be an outsider. Because he was a Jew, Bernbach was segmented from the traditionally blue-blood, Ivy League world of Madison Avenue of the 1940’s. Bernbach saw an opportunity for creating more than just advertising – he used his differences to start what has been defined as the creative revolution. Eventually the outsider label shifted from being a negative to the ultimate positive goal for most advertising professionals and where they aspire creative to live.
Here are two great ads, one for VW, the other for rye bread that exemplify the message of being truthful and connective when it comes to potentially polarizing labels of the era for subcompact cars and ethnic foods.
Disability continues to have stereotypical labels pinned to it, but one organization is taking an approach Bernbach would be proud of. Think Beyond The Label is a non-profit with a simple goal: to raise awareness that hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense.
Here’s a portion of a press release sharing more on the campaign:
Created by the Chicago-based ad agency Wirestone, “Think Beyond the Label” emphasizes that all workplaces accommodate difference—from the “copy-incapable” office worker to the “pattern-deficient” dresser to the man with “volume control syndrome” (i.e., the loud-mouthed employee). The campaign acknowledges that workforce diversity is an asset to small, medium, and large companies. Interested employers are encouraged to visit the campaign hub, thinkbeyondthelabel.com, for information on hiring people with disabilities in their areas.
From the shirts we wear to the cars we drive. . . . well not me, but for those of you who do drive, labels can be important. And label importance is often created and fostered through advertising’s immersive websites, in-store experiences, glossy magazines and social media. You may already be comfortable with the disability label, because of someone in your family who wears it, a co-worker or maybe it’s you. We need to ensure that agencies and advertisers know that there are more than 56 million Americans who are proud to wear that label and want to see more of advertising and disability together well beyond this blog.