We are pleased to launch our website and first blog post, where you can keep up-to-date with the latest news about Starting With Julius and join us in discussion about diversity and the inclusion of people with disability in advertising, media and beyond.
By Catia Malaquias
It’s been an exciting month for us – our website has finally come online and we have also welcomed the launch of children’s fashion brand eeni meeni miini moh’s sixth consecutive advertising campaign featuring Julius (you can seen the full SS15 catalogue here).
For the last two and a half years and in each of the six campaigns, Julius has appeared in eeni meeni miini moh’s catalogues, billboards, online and in store marketing, alongside children representing different looks, ages, races and ethnicities and the brand continues to lead the way nationally with its consistent message of diversity and inclusion.
This should not be surprising – Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet and 1 in 5 of us has a disability – but it is. Many of our brands and advertisers are still reluctant to reflect some of the people who will be buying their products.
Fortunately, there are signs that brands are increasingly willing to embrace diversity and represent people with disability – in fact the biggest minority group in our society. The Return On Disability Group estimates that 1.3 billion people with disability in the world and their families and friends – who are also likely to be engaged by advertising that represents disability – form a combined emerging global market of approximately 3.6 billion people.
We were pleased to see the local response, particularly from the Australian children’s fashion industry, to the #IMREADY campaign which we helped to promote earlier this year on social media, in collaboration our friends at Changing The Face Of Beauty. You can see the Australian brands among the 104 Proud Participating Companies 2015 here.
However, we want to see broader support across these industries – we want the “big brands” to join in, we want opportunities for inclusion in advertising to extend beyond children’s advertising and we want to see this happen consistently; not as a one-off but as a general commitment to reflect diversity, including disability. That commitment must extend to the authentic representation of people with disability and their relationship to the world around them – and to avoiding the stereotypes, pity and condescension that too often characterises the portrayal of disability in the media.
While we are still a long way away from the day when the participation of children like Julius, not only in general advertising but also on TV, in regular schools and later in open employment, will be commonplace and accepted without surprise or hesitation, when advertising and mainstream media represent people with disability, they help to build cultural pathways towards a more inclusive society.
It is our aim to continue to stimulate discussion about representation in advertising and media and share Blog posts that promote the right of people with disability to equal representation in advertising and media and recognise their vital role in cultural transformation.
We have enlisted some great writers to contribute to this Blog so stay tuned and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #adinclusion #startingwithjulius.
In the meantime you can also keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check out some great new advertising campaigns – with a notable mention going to the following “Back To School” campaign just released by Target (US). Enjoy!
If you are interested in being a Blog contributor or would like to get in touch, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org