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Is this the most inclusive advertising production team ever?

Written by Simpatico PR

Posted on 2021-10-07

We may be seeing a far more diverse mix of people in the advertising we see on TV, online and on posters, but behind the scenes, the advertising industry is notorious for its lack of inclusivity.

There’s no denying that disabled talent is hugely underrepresented in the industry. The Advertising Association’s recent ‘All In Census’ carried out alongside IPA, ISBA and Kantar found that a minuscule 9% of disabled people are represented in the advertising industry vs 14% in the working population.

Legal and financial services firm Irwin Mitchell recently launched its new, powerful advertising campaign - The Human Touch - featuring real clients sharing personal stories highlighting the impact of case outcomes. Who was behind the making of it? The most inclusive production team the majority of which was made up of disabled talent.

Our B2B PR client - global, full-service agency Merkle B2B - created the campaign and partnered with creative studio Annex and their director Oscar Cariss to bring the project to life.

The team included blind photographer Ian Treherne, who was mentored by award-winning photographer Rankin, director and wheelchair user Owen Tooth and blind and autistic musician Derek Paravicin. You can watch the very moving behind the scenes ‘statement film’ captured by Owen, which brings to light some of the disabled teams’ stories, here.

The campaign is currently airing across TV, print and online and the main advert can be seen here.

Our B2B PR strategy included talking to advertising trade media. Speaking with journalist Sara Nelson at Campaign Magazine, Jason Fletcher, Executive Creative Director at Merkle B2B, said “If I do nothing else but get someone to think, ‘Maybe we should try to be more inclusive', then I’ve done my job. The more I can do that, the more I think we’ll get to change the industry.”

Photographer Ian Treherne also spoke with Sara about his experience on set saying, “Inclusion should become a regular thing. It’s still all very new, and we're still modernising it and finessing it but eventually I’d like to see it normalised and I’m very confident it can happen.”

The team and everyone involved hope to encourage creative agencies and production companies to use more disabled talent, an area that the media and advertising industry has been lagging behind on for many years. This is a great case study proving disabled people can do the job in a very tough industry.

Read the full Campaign article here.

Disabled people involved:

• Owen Tooth, Director of the statement film - Wheelchair user

• Dan Blaker, Sound recordist – Asperger’s

• Bryanna Angel Ryder, Makeup artist - Lupus & partial hearing

• Raj Chohan, 3rd AD – Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, currently in clinical remission

• Amy Daneel, Editor – Complex PTSD

• Nicki Cornish, Photographer’s assistant - partial hearing

• Nadia Albina, VO Artist - Born without a forearm on one arm

• Derek Paravicin, Musician – blind and autistic

• Ian Treherne – photographer – blind

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