One of the world’s largest advertisers, Unilever, has mandated that at least one member of the production crew on any of its ads budgeted at $100k or more must be from the disabled community.

The pledge has been made as part of Unilever’s ‘Believe in Talent’ campaign,  part of its Act 2 Unstereotype initiative to get more persons with a disability working behind the camera in advertising production.

Unilever has also launched a new ‘Inclusive Production Toolkit’, outlining best practices to support to people with disabilities behind the camera. The launch is supported by new research which finds that 73% of disabled content creators feel the industry is exclusionary of them.

The research among disabled content creators found that 62% would consider a job in Advertising, TV, Radio and Film and are already using key skills, like video editing, producing, camera operating, subtitling, directing and scriptwriting, to create their content. However, (90%) said that they feel people’s attitudes and mindsets are having an impact on including them on production sets.

These findings from a survey of 50 content creators from intersectional disabled communities in the US, UK and Brazil, have been released today by Unilever to launch its new ‘Believe in Talent’ campaign and its ‘Inclusive Production Toolkit’ to creative agencies and production companies.

At present, persons with disabilities only represent 8.3% of roles on-screen and 6% off screen in the UK.

The ‘Inclusive Production Toolkit’ has been created in collaboration with the disability community and outlines best practices “to make advertising production more disability-confident and inclusive of people’s needs.”

It’s also launching its ‘Inclusive Set Commitment’ to include at least one person from the disabled community as part of the crew on advertising productions over €100k.

Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Unilever, said: “As we continue to strive for better creativity in our advertising and seek to build better connections with all people around the world, it’s imperative that persons with disabilities are part of the creative process working both behind the camera and on screen. Content creators have created this wonderfully inclusive space on social media and are showing us that it’s possible to be authentic and break stereotypes. Advertising stands to benefit from harnessing this skilled talent. The proof is in the results and unstereotypical, progressive advertising is delivering for Unilever 92% better brand power, 94% better brand difference, 67% better brand persuasion and 76% better enjoyment of ads.”

Dana Cadden, Unilever’s Global Head of Advertising Production, said: “We are committed to changing the way we operate on commercial productions to ensure we harness all the great talent from the disabled community. Whilst we still have much to learn, if more brands can make their production sets more inclusive, they will not only create more opportunities for persons with disabilities, but also benefit immensely from the creativity they will bring to our industry.”

WPP is among one of Unilever’s agency partners adopting the ‘Inclusive Set Commitment’ on Unilever productions and will be sharing the ‘Inclusive Production Toolkit’ across its agency network.

“Building diverse teams that better reflect society is not only the right thing to do, it helps us create campaigns that better resonate and connect with consumers. Our long-established partnership with Unilever has always strived to break down stereotypes in the content we create. We’re proud to support this initiative to help further drive inclusivity, in front and behind the camera, and look forward to more brands adopting the Inclusive Set Commitment.” said WPP CEO, Mark Read.

IPG CEO, Philippe Krakowsky, said: “As an industry we have a responsibility to create more inclusive and Unstereotypical advertising and communications. One of the ways we can do this is by having more diverse teams and better representation from underserved communities. We welcome and wholeheartedly support Unilever’s efforts to create more opportunities and access for people with disabilities behind the camera.”

Unilever’s ‘Inclusive Production Toolkit’ was developed in collaboration with Inclusively Made, founded by Bus Stop Films & Taste Creative, and is available to download here.


Jon Creamer

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