Recent research to investigate the representation of people with disabilities in prime-time U.S. TV ads found that, while a quarter of the U.S. population is the same as people with disabilities, only 1% of ads included the representation of disability-related topics, images or topics. With the exception, therefore, of the health products and pharmaceutical, very often the adverts showed people with disabilities in everyday life (work, parenting, chores, or recreational activities) In the past few days to Nielsen, a global company with offices in the United States that specializes in market research, announced the results of a research aimed to investigate the representation of people with disabilities in advertising in the early evening from the TV in the us. The survey was carried out in the USA last February, through a sample of about 450,000 prime-time advertisements broadcast on broadcasts and cable TV.
Well, although more than a quarter (26%) of the U.S. population is affected by a disability, only 1% of prime-time advertisements included depictions of disability-related topics, images, or topics, a fact that reveals the lack of interest in corporate communication for these people.
The media, Nielsen notes, has the power to alter the narrative about disability, better reflecting the real experience experienced by people with disabilities, but while film and television content has made progress in depicting disability stories – as is evident from the wave of programming that includes disability and related themes over the past decade – advertising appears to be still far behind. And yet, with a market potential of 2 21 billion, advertisers cannot afford to miss the opportunity to interact with the community of people with disabilities and those who support them.
Regarding the content of representation, the study found that most of the time disability is absent from advertising, except when it focuses on disability-related products.
Rarely do ads show people with disabilities in everyday life, such as work, parenting, household chores, or recreational activities. Only 3% of the inclusive advertising spend in February (dollari 57 million) went to ads with people with disabilities or that included disability themes in creativity. In addition, nearly 50% of expenditure on disability ads was on pharmaceuticals, treatments and health devices.
Medical treatment and care activities are certainly important aspects in the daily life of people with disabilities, but it is equally important to show how the life of people with disabilities cannot be reduced to these aspects. Under this profile, the different companies can have a significant role, since they have the opportunity to show people with disabilities in everyday life, while using the products and services offered by different brands.
In the attempt, therefore, to increase the visibility of issues related to the disability, the advertising industry can collaborate with organisations of persons with disabilities, taking care not to slip in the so-called Inspiration Porn (porno motivational”), which is often used to motivate the non-disabled persons to the detriment of the experience of people with disabilities (about“inspiration porn” you see a card published by Fabrizio Acanfora on your blog).
When planning a campaign, brands need to set up various formats and accessibility features to accommodate a variety of people with different disabilities, and they can improve representation in their organizations by hiring more people with disabilities.
Christina Mallon, influencer, activist and head of sector for Inclusive Design and Accessibility of the marketing and communication agency Wunderman Thompson, said that, as a person with disabilities, it was poorly represented as a consumer, and said: “brands included the need to involve and include persons with disabilities. But when they include people with disabilities in their creative content, they need to introduce us to who we are – beyond our disabilities-without ignoring the fact that we have one.”