For this year’s Dear Everybody campaign, Matt Hassell made sure to root the narrative in two things: starting a conversation and actually seeing results.
“I’m hoping that the industry will take notice of the lack of people with disabilities in advertising,” he says. With almost two decades worth of advertising experience, Hassell has seen the industry change, embracing inclusion and diversity.
But he knows more work still needs to be done.
“If you have somebody with a visible disability in advertising it becomes newsworthy, and our feeling is it should not be newsworthy. We want people to get used to the idea of seeing it because they see that in everyday life and they should be seeing [disability] represented in their advertising.”
Hassell is the Chief Creative Officer at Forsman & Bodenfors, the agency responsible for creating this year’s campaign with Holland Bloorview.
As part of their strategy, Hassell’s team also came up with the Dear Everybody Agreement.
The Agreement is divided into two parts with one part asking brands to start casting people with disabilities and the other asking members of the public to start supporting brands who do.
Forsman & Bodenfors were one of the first agencies to sign.
“We wanted to give everybody the opportunity to agree to help. It isn’t necessarily about the most perfect ad campaign, it really is about having a whole industry get on side,” says Hassell.
“It’s an agreement between all of us, because all of us together are going to change the industry.”