ITV talk to us about:

  • their commitment to improving disability representation
  • what the creative process was like
  • why getting the right messaging was important for the campaign
  • how Scope helped ITV to bring their vision to life

What was the inspiration behind the invisible disabilities advert?

We wanted to raise awareness of invisible disabilities. ITV has a strong commitment to improving disability representation. Whether that’s what you see on screen. The people making the shows you see. Or who’s working in ITV’s offices.

We identified invisible disability as a topic that we could raise awareness of. So, we approached Scope to see if they were interested in working with us.

How did you find the process of working with Scope on this project?

It was great. ITV creates lots of content for disabled people. It wouldn’t surprise me if Scope have offered their consulting services. But this is the first time we have partnered with Scope.

The disabled community is so broad. So this campaign was important for ITV. To help build the campaign, we also worked with ITV Able, our disabled colleague network. We did all sorts of things for this campaign to make sure we got it right.

When we started working with Scope, they gave us access to their network. And they made sure there was input from a broader range of people. This helped us to make the messaging fit with the social model of disability.

The work we did together was impactful by making sure that we got the language right.

What was it that made you decide to work with Scope on this project?

Well, ITV has many charity partners that, in some cases, are long-established. Our partnership with UNICEF goes back over a decade.

But with Scope, what they were able to bring was that very wide view of disability. This was great because we created an ad to show 4 people with different experiences.

It was important to us that we had a partner who could understand that.

Scope’s Director of Partnerships, Paul Fuller, has experience in broadcast. He saw the opportunities that this partnership could bring. He guided us through the creative process of the campaign. And spotted the potential challenges in the early stages of development.

What did Scope do that helped you get this advert right?

The creative idea evolved from what we originally had in mind. And Scope was critical to that.

Early on, we’d came across a statistic saying that 80% of disability is invisible. Scope tried to help us back up that statistic but wasn’t able to.

But the colleague research that they were able to conduct was important. And gave us all the reassurance that what we wanted to say with the ad was going to have a positive impact.

What feedback did you receive on the advert?

Our research showed that the ad was very well-liked. It led to a change in attitude and in the behaviour of people who’d seen it.

We hope that people who have seen the ad were moved by it. And as a result, will now approach certain situations differently.

We also had great feedback from the ITV disabled colleagues network. They praised us for the co-creation process involved in making the ad.

We also saw some great feedback on social media. Some of this came from celebrities who posted it, like Katie Piper. Many of their followers who saw the ad felt seen. Invisible disabilities isn’t something that is often talked about. But it’s so important.

It was also great to hear people sharing their experiences of how challenging it can be. How it leads to you being treated differently when disability isn’t visible. And the assumptions that people can make. Hearing these testimonials was important to us. Because we need to see people talking about things which isn’t often mentioned in the mainstream media.

Do you think that there’s been any change within ITV?

In 2020, we established our diversity acceleration plan. And since then, we have been on a mission to improve diversity and inclusion at ITV. Both on-screen and off-screen. We’ve also signed up for an industry initiative to double disability representation. We have also introduced accessible training programs. And we’ve introduced disability passports at ITV.

This got quite a lot of exposure internally with our six thousand colleagues. And it did well externally, with our 40 million viewers.

What would you say to other businesses thinking of working with Scope?

I think to build that trust is so important. And one of the ways to build trust is to be clear on your shared objectives and the ways that you can support each other.

The ad helped to further Scope’s objectives of changing attitudes to disability. Understanding each other’s shared objectives is important.

We had weekly status meetings where we ran through everything with Scope. And this was helpful. You have to get it right when it comes to a mass campaign that will reach millions of people.

I would also say the ITV’s secret when it comes to this sort of campaign is making sure that it’s compelling.

So there’s no point getting exactly the right message if you’re not doing it in a way that cuts through. This, in our case was using celebrities. That you don’t necessarily think about the disability that they have.

For us, it was making sure that the advertising isn’t just telling people what you want to tell them. But doing it in an interesting and surprising way. And being simple in what the message is.

While working with Scope, they helped us to think about questions like:

‘What are we actually asking people to do?’

Asking these kinds of questions helped us to create a clear action.

We’ve also done a lot of work on making the ITV website for invisible disabilities accessible. It features testimonials from ITV colleagues with invisible disabilities.

ITV has an accessibility team, who have been addressing some of the issues they face. But the ITV accessibility team also worked with Scope’s accessibility team. This helped to make sure there wasn’t anything that the ITV team hadn’t considered. And showed us that there was another piece of work that we needed to address. So that we were accessible at every level.

Related products