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.