Starting With Julius was established as a project in 2013 by people who are committed to promoting the inclusion of people with disability in Australian advertising, media and beyond.
We believe that advertising and media have a powerful role in shaping the consciousness and behaviour of individuals and that by “recasting” the way that society thinks about disability and difference, it is possible to accelerate inclusion in every area of life and contribute to the elimination of attitudinal barriers and social injustices that diminish human rights.
We are a not-for-profit project and work through social media and traditional media and with companies directly to positively influence their marketing messages and raise consciousness about representation and portrayal of disability. We also work with advocates, academics and other not-for-profit organisations.
“Advertising should be bold and reflect the world in which we live. With one in five of us living with disability, having a disability is a natural part of the human experience and, like other forms of diversity, it should be represented, not excluded.”
We work with smaller and more established brands to include people with disability in their core messages and campaigns, and have worked with eeni meeni miini moh, Rock Your Baby, Kmart Australia and Target Australia and others and coordinated international social media campaign #IMREADY in Australia helping to secure the participation of more than 15 Australian brands to include models with disability in their advertising.
We also work with model and casting agents and television producers to promote inclusive portrayal of people with disability and have advised in relation to a range of matters including disability portrayal, character development and accessibility.
WHO IS JULIUS?
Julius is the first SWJ Ad Inclusion Ambassador
In early 2013, eeni meeni miini moh launched the first ever high profile nationwide advertising campaign in Australia featuring a model with Down syndrome, Julius.
Since then, Julius has featured in seven consecutive advertising campaigns for eeni meeni miini moh.
Julius’ mother, Catia Malaquias, first reached out to eeni meeni miini moh as a customer, prompted by concern over the impact of exclusionary messages from the worlds of media and advertising, including children’s advertising, on her son’s development of his sense of identity and belonging.
“Diversity and inclusion in advertising are an opportunity for brands to build loyalty by showing their customers that they understand them and by reflecting strong and positive social values.”
Catia and eeni meeni miini moh shared a belief that advertising doesn’t have to be part of “the problem” – it can be part of “the solution” by empowering all of us to celebrate our diverse identities through its marketing reach.
Starting With Julius grew from this beginning into a broader project to promote diversity and the inclusion of people with disability in advertising, media and beyond. We are proud of each of our SWJ Ad Inclusion Ambassadors and thankful for their support for our mission to increase the representation, through advertising imagery, of our shared vision of a world in which no one is excluded and everyone belongs.
WHAT GUIDES US
We are guided by the principles embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) as the most authoritative expression of the human rights of people with disability, including the right to participate and be included in every area of life.
Article 8 of the UNCRPD expressly states the need to combat stereotypes and prejudice and promote positive perceptions and respect for the rights of people with disability, including by encouraging all media organs to portray people with disability in a manner consistent with the purposes of the UNCRPD.
We are committed to the advancement of positive cultural transformation through advertising, media and beyond with a particular concern for fostering in children an attitude of respect for human diversity and the rights and inclusion of people with disability.
“Inclusion in advertising is important because it helps to validate and normalise the participation of people with disability in the community, both as consumers and more generally, and to challenge the stigma, stereotypes and misconceptions that remain significant barriers to the enjoyment of rights.”
We promote discussion about inclusion in every area of life, including in education – as contemplated by Article 24 of the UNCRPD – through our dedicated Blog SWJ IncludED.