It is reported that one in five Australians live with a disability. But, if the images of society broadcast through the media and advertisers are to be believed, this sector of the population is vastly underrepresented. That was the case until recently, when some major retailers started featuring children with special needs in their commercials.
In March 2016, Kmart Australia featured two models with a disability in their spring catalogue. The experiment was followed up with a television campaign. A spokesperson for Kmart said, “Inclusion is important to us no matter a person’s race, gender, ethnicity, age, ability, appearance or attitude.”
The trend seems to be picking up speed, as another retail giant, Target, is also featuring children with special needs in their catalogue and television marketing. One of the children, Emily connected to the retailer through the assistance of Starting with Julius, an organization created to stimulate conversation and awareness through the media and inclusive education. Their ambassadors are shaking up the mainstream media by challenging the preconceptions and stereotypes of people with disabilities.
For more information about disability, diversity and inclusion in the media, click here.