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Marketers Show Support for the Disabled with Advertising

March 31 2009 | by

According to the New York Times, more companies are advertising to the disabled market as the weakened economy has brought about a “shift in attitudes [that] represents an opportunity to connect with the public on less mercenary — and more altruistic — levels.”

For example, On Sunday, American Airlines and the American Association of People With Disabilities announced plans to honor the best television commercials featuring what are deemed positive portrayals of the disabled. The winning spot will get free air time during the airline’s in-flight entertainment programming.

The Special Olympics is also being assisted in its pro bono campaign by BBDO Worldwide in New York, part of the Omnicom Group, and Perfect Sense Digital in Reston, Va. Their work includes posters and a Web site where computer users can pledge their support to eliminate the demeaning use of the r-word.

Perhaps instead of marketing to people with disabilities for altruistic reasons, companies can actually make their products and services more accessible and user-friendly. Treat people with disabilities as any other consumer, and companies might see a pick-up in their bottom line as well as their reputation.

  • Judith

    I don’t buy any of that altruistic bunk at all.

    First of all, what does the weakened economy have to do with altruism. Truth is, most non-profits are suffering right now or shutting down. The weakened economy has emptied pockets and dried up donations.

    There is a method to the madness, somewhere in this move, and I am sure it has more to do with dollars than heart-strings.

    I agree with you. Companies need to market items that are accessible to the the disabled community. If they don’t know who they are, do the same market research you normally do for any other demographic. Incorporate that information into your research and development.

    Throwing a couple of advertising bones to a community hungry for inclusion, and acceptance may not turn out as well as they think.

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