Among advertising and marketing professional organizations the Association of National Advertisers, ANA, is taking the lead in recognizing inclusion of people with disabilities. In 2014 the ANA introduced the Multicultural Excellence Award in the People with Disabilities category, the first of its kind in the industry, honoring outstanding work in the disability sector.
The 17th annual ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference coming up November 8th through the 10th continues to expand relevance and recognition in the industry for people with disabilities.
Recently I spoke with Janine Martella, Director, Committees and Conferences for the ANA who noted this year’s event has even more to offer for advertisers and others in attendance. Last year’s conference had a breakout session on advertisers and disability and this year the conference will hold a presentation on the main stage led by Apoorva N. Gandhi, Vice President of Multicultural Affairs at Marriott International.
Of the award entrants, Janine shared, “there’s a very inclusive feeling in all of the finalist ads this year. They don’t just focus on a person or people with disabilities. The ads show that these people are part of family and friends of all abilities and within a larger multicultural community.”
Finalists in the mix are:
Why do you think disability, diversity and inclusion are more accepted topics?
Janine shared, “People’s perception of disabilities has changed and a disability can be defined more broadly, such as visible or invisible. There’s now a comfort level recognizing that people with disabilities are in our everyday lives; It’s not just about the people with the disability, it’s also about the people around them. Some advertisers are inclusive in their DNA, by that I mean we continue to hear more about brands recognizing and supporting people with disabilities, and their families, within their own organizations. Advertisers minds’ have been opened in regards to this category and it shows in their marketing efforts. For advertisers, inclusion of people with disabilities opens up a market segment that people may not have paid attention to.”