Disability charity Leonard Cheshire is launching a service to help companies include disability in their marketing strategies.
The Visability Programme will also give companies guidance about meeting the requirements of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which comes into full force in October 2004.
The charity says that one in four people are either disabled or know someone who is disabled. Yet research commissioned by the charity shows that 42 per cent of people cannot recall seeing advertisements that feature disabled people. According to Leonard Cheshire, the disabled account for £45bn of total consumer spend every year.
Some retailers have already invested large sums on improving access for the disabled ahead of the implementation of the DDA. But Leonard Cheshire corporate account manager Peter Dickens says many companies have failed to capitalise on that in their marketing, or even make disabled people aware of the fact that their local store is now accessible.
The service, aimed at both companies and advertising agencies, is designed to make companies think of new ways of considering disability in marketing campaigns, and make them aware of resources that are available.
Two years ago, Leonard Cheshire launched a campaign called VisABLE to promote images of the disabled in advertising, drawing the support of companies such as McDonald’s and the Co-op.
Leonard Cheshire provides disability care services to 20,000 people in the UK and is present in 57 countries worldwide.