A new study into ‘ADS’ that show people with physical or mental disabilities has shown creative agencies need to try harder to break society’s stigmas.

The research was conducted by the media agency UM in the UK and was part of its research into stereotyping in advertising. The study was based on the research of 2,000 British people.

Although the study found that people wanted to see more people with disabilities in ads, some 62% of respondents admitted they felt ‘uncomfortable’ when they did see it. While 43% said it’s because people aren’t exposed enough to people in the community.

A further 43% agreed that advertisers who did show people with disabilities risked making the ads ‘not appealing to people.’ While 34% said that people with physical disabilities are ‘not attractive.’

Commenting on the study, Michael Brown, head of insight at UM, said, “The disabled are perhaps the final frontier for UK advertising, the last remaining consumer group in need of a more positive approach and less stereotyping.

Some brands have begun to use those with physical disabilities in their ads, famously Maltesers, but there is clearly far more that could be done to build a more positive perception both of those people and of those with mental health conditions.”

Brown went on to say, “Of course there is still far more to be done, but many big consumer brands are making strides to avoid harmful negative stereotypes for women and the LGBTQ community in their advertising. If they can do that, and help to improve public perception on the way, surely they can do the same to paint a more positive picture of people with disabilities.”


For full details of the study please click here