In 2019, about 156 companies had received a score of 80% and above on the Disability Equality Index (DEI). According to a joint reportOpens a new window by AAPD and Disability:IN, 205 companies received this score in 2020. More companies realize the importance of representing people with disabilities and marginalized communities in their marketing campaigns.
According to a reportOpens a new window by eSSENTIAL Accessibility, the population of people with disabilities worldwide is more than 1.3 billion, and their global spending power is more than $6 trillion. This whopping number means that people with disabilities and minority communities play a massive role in brands’ success. These communities deserve the same representation regular consumers deserve. Fortunately, more brands have taken cognizance of this and are working toward becoming more inclusive in their operations and marketing campaigns over the last few years.
As the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) draws closer (December 3rd), we identify a few brands that have focused on disability inclusion and minority representation in their marketing campaigns.
Brand 1: Procter & Gamble (P&G)
A significant number of P&G commercials include people from various backgrounds. They also use their platform to deliver powerful stories and messages about equality, identity, and diversity.
For example, â€˜The Talk’ conveys the story of African American mothers having a conversation with their children about race throughout decades. Viewers see the mothers telling what African American people go through in the country regularly. The commercial gets darker at a certain point. The ad ends with a caption, â€œLET’S ALL TALK ABOUT â€˜THE TALK’, SO WE CAN END THE NEED TO HAVE IT.â€
The commercial’s goal is to discuss the complex socio-political topic of racial bias. It focuses on the conversations African American mothers are forced to have behind closed doors to keep their children safe. Through the commercial, the company aims to start discussions that create change or end the need to feel insecure in the face of racism.
The ad was successful in its attempt as it was discussed widely by social media users, news outlets, and advocacy groups. The commercial even won an Emmy Award in 2018. According to Damon Jones, global communications director of P&G, â€œWe know that bias is not just an African American issue. It is an issue that takes on many shapes and forms, across gender, race, age, weight, sexual orientation, and more. Our goal with â€˜The Talk’ is to help raise awareness about the impact of bias.â€
Brand 2: Benefit Cosmetics
Many times, brands need not run campaigns to showcase inclusivity. It can be certain acts they do that show that they believe in being inclusive. It is what Benefit Cosmetics, too, did in 2019. The brand introduced Kate Grant, the Irish model with Down’s Syndrome as its brand ambassador. In the photos shared on social media, Grant flashes the brand’s Roller Liner Eyeliner.
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The 20-year-old supermodel was already a sensation and inspired other women with similar disabilities to pursue their dreams. Benefit received widespread acclamations from fans for selecting Grant as its brand ambassador. One woman even wroteOpens a new window :
As the mum of a child with Down syndrome, I can’t tell you how much it means to us that you have featured this beautiful girl! Thank you so very much for your awesome gesture of inclusiveness, hope to see more of Kate.
Brand 3: Target
Target is one of the companies which has started showcasing inclusivity in its campaigns. The company launched the â€˜Founders We Believe In’ campaign earlier this year. One of the campaign ads showcased Beatrice Dixon, founder of The Honey Pot, a women’s hygiene products brand as part of Target’s recognition of minority female-run businesses.
In the ad, Dixon talks about how difficult it was for her to start her company and how Target supported her to have a presence in several retail stores. In the end, she also states that it is essential for The Honey Pot to do well so that â€œthe next black girl that comes up with a great idea could have a better opportunityâ€.
The message shows the importance of inclusivity and is one of hope, especially for people from minority backgrounds who like to see someone like them succeed. This ad had one of the highest attention scores among viewers compared to all other Target ads. While the ad did receive some negative comments on a few platforms, there was much support and solidarity. The Honey Pot even registered a growth of 40-50% in sales that week since the controversy ensued.
Brand 4: Bumble
Bumble takes a different route to showcase inclusivity. The brand doesn’t necessarily run campaigns focused on diversity and inclusion. Instead, it merely shows off its diverse range of customers. The â€˜Find Them On Bumble’ campaign is an example of how the brand highlights its varied users. For the campaign, Bumble created videos, an Instagram account, a web page, more than 500 billboards, and OOH ads. The company also featured about 112 real-life users in New York City. Here is a video from the campaign.
The video states that the brand finds inspiring people everywhere, and it wanted to celebrate some of its most â€˜inspiring’ users in New York City. Hence, it brought them together to share their stories. The video showcases people from different backgrounds, from activists and doctors to immigrants and entrepreneurs. Besides celebrating its users, the company recognizes the diversity in the city through its campaign.
The campaign’s message is clear â€“ inspiring people come from all backgrounds, and you can find them on Bumble.
Brand 5: ASOS
ASOS is one of the brands which has been one of the few retail brands that have been inclusive of their offerings. The retailer launched its wheelchair-friendly jumpsuit in 2018. The company partnered with the BBC sports reporter and British Paralympian Chloe Ball-Hopkins to create a fashionable and practical jumpsuit. The jumpsuit can be worn by anyone irrespective of whether they are in a wheelchair or not.
The jumpsuit is a colorful, two-piece waterproof wear and is particularly helpful for wheelchair users who cannot tuck under an umbrella as easily as other users. The bottom and the top halves of the jumpsuit can be zipped together to turn it into a one-piece. Ball-Hopkins tweeted:
So over the last several months I have been working with @ASOSOpens a new window to create a fashionable, yet practical waterproof all in one! Not just for people like me in a chair but for anyone. It’s about making fashion accessible! So what should be next?! pic.twitter.com/7yS57QEmpDOpens a new window
â€” Chloe Ball-Hopkins ðŸ (@chloe_ballhopzy) July 4, 2018Opens a new window
The company received praise from many shoppers on social media for launching the wheelchair-friendly jumpsuit.
Disability inclusion should not just be a buzzword but is a necessity for the success of a business. Today, consumers are more inclined to trust and spend on brands that stand for a social cause and practice social responsibility. In their daily operations and campaigns, inclusivity shows that the brand believes in supporting communities that are often ignored. Hence, brands should look at inclusivity not only from the point of profits but also in terms of bringing about a positive change in society.