Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 awesome ads that raise awareness about disability: love 'em!

I recently found this 2007 series of Australian ads from Scope, a non-profit that provides disability services. Cool, right?

Earlier this year, Gillette Children's Hospital of Minnesota launched a Cure Pity campaign and pledge that asked people to quit pitying kids with disabilities and instead take action to improve their lives. The video below features 8-year-old Lexi Dietz who has arthrogryposis, a condition involving constriction of the joints and muscular weakness. As is clearly evident in the video, this is not a weak-willed child.

The ads below ran a couple of years ago here in the U.S., part of a Think Beyond The Label print and TV campaign financed by agencies in 30 states that provide employment, health and human services to locals who are disabilities. The goal: encourage employers to ignore labels when hiring people with disabilities.

This summer Best Buddies launched a billboard awareness campaign in the New York area area featuring Rob Lowe, Cindy Crawford and Food Network star Guy Fieri paired with buddies; they hope to expand to other parts of the country.

Both guys look amazing. (How is it possible Rob Lowe never ages?!) Celebs can bring a lot of good attention to a campaign. But I especially like ads that, subtly or not, play off people's perceptions of those with disabilities—and force them to reexamine their ideas. Don't pity. Look beyond the labels. See the ability behind the disability.

Obviously, ads alone won't do the trick but they're a great way to rev up a conversation that's far too quiet in our country.

I leave you with this Scope TV commercial:

Scope photos/Darren Padgham; Best Buddies photo/Lyndie Benson


  1. ellen, i have always loved that Sope ad. my Uncle actually provides support during the day for adults with Cp including the Radio head fan! Thanks for sharing it wider! Bron

  2. This was so inspiring! Thank you!

  3. How do I get Rob Lowe to be MY buddy??? :-)

  4. We love Gillette! They have the best doctors and my daughter loves going there.

    The best part about Gillette is that it's in St. Paul, not Minneapolis.
    : )

  5. This is wonderful to see! I would have liked to have seen more ads like these when i was growing up in the '80s!

  6. Meriah mentioned that you were compiling a list of toys for kids with special needs. I just did a blog post, Down syndrome and toys: 0-2 years, if you want to take a look.

  7. Along a similar theme you may be interested in Channel 4 (UK)'s coverage of the Paralympics. See or particularly their impressive ad campaign (

  8. :):):):) This is all great
    To show just how much i am attached to best Buddies I started singing the best buddies song and doing a happy dance on my front lawn while a CUTE guy rode by when i read that Guy Fereri supports Best Buddies (I am a Food network fan)

  9. Can Rob Lowe get any better looking? He just did!

  10. I have shared several of your posts with my students (college students who are future special education teachers). I LOVE this one (as a former saxophone player, I especially appreciated the sax player sign)! I was unaware of the Cure Pity campaign, but now have shared it with my students (and with friends on Facebook) and will be passing it along to many other people! THANK YOU for sharing that and many other wonderful, enlightening perspectives about kids with disabilities who kick butt!

  11. Love the handicap symbol saxophonist!


Thanks for sharing!

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