McCann Worldgroup and Media Trust Advocate for Disability Representation in Advertising

03 Oct 2023

McCann Worldgroup and Media Trust hosted an event to address the underrepresentation of disabled individuals in the advertising industry. Titled the “Missing 23%,” this event references statistics from the UK government, revealing that although disabled people make up 23% of the UK’s working-age population, their representation in advertising remains disproportionately low.

During the event, McCann Worldgroup and Media Trust discussed the latest research and creative ideas related to representing people with disabilities in advertising. This included research indicating that 64% of disabled individuals in the UK perceive the media’s portrayal of them as outdated, along with jarring statistics that only 4% of television adverts featured disabled talent in 2021, and a mere 1% included a disabled person as the main character.

The event was hosted by McCann Worldgroup’s Regional Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Europe & UK, Bertille Calinaud, who noted, “Representation needs to be authentic, joyful and showcase the depth of people’s lived experience. We need to normalize that representation and not only focus on products that are aimed at this community. ‬‬‬‬We also can’t forget intersectionality. Being disabled can mean a myriad of things, and different people’s lived experiences will vary depending on other layers of identity such as gender, race, socio-economic background, age, sexual orientation. For some people, the under-representation is even more stark because of their multiple identities, and we have a duty to represent these experiences,” she continued.

Lucy Hudson, Managing Director at McCann Demand, also commented, “Hosting the Missing 23% event and working with these great partners has proven that change is not going to happen fast enough in representation of the disabled community in advertising without deliberate and consistent action. At McCann, we are leading the charge on this, but we still have a lot to learn and would encourage others to join us on this journey!”

Read more about the event in Little Black Book…