AMVBBDO, London / MARS / 2017
Under our new campaign platform, Look on the Light Side, Maltesers makes light of everyday mishaps that affect each and every one of us, regardless of who we are or our position in society. Launching in conjunction with the 2016 Paralympics, this campaign focused specifically on disability. In ‘New Boyfriend’ our protagonist with cerebral palsy explains how an intimate moment with her boyfriend quickly got a lot more intimate after she experienced a spasm.
The Disability campaign was written in response to a competition run by Channel 4, the broadcaster of the Paralympics in the UK, to encourage more brands to feature disabled people in their advertising in the run up to the 2016 games. At a time when disabled people were all too frequently positioned as “extraordinary” human beings whenever they featured in advertising, we subverted the trend by depicting them as everyday people in our work; as people who experience the same mishaps and moments of awkwardness as everyone else. It was this insight that led Maltesers to win the competition, for which we were awarded £1 million worth of airtime across Channel 4’s portfolio of channels, and the opportunity to launch all three films in the first ad break of the Paralympics’ opening ceremony in September 2016.
As part of the creative development process we held a number of focus groups in conjunction with local disability charity, Scope, to speak to disabled people about their everyday experiences relating to their disability and to ensure that the ideas at the heart of the work that we created felt authentic. These groups inspired ‘New Boyfriend’ and the idea of a girl with cerebral palsy having an intimate moment interrupted by a spasm emerged out of these groups. When it came to casting we worked closely with our production company, Biscuit, and Scope to make sure that we only considered actresses with cerebral palsy to play the role, in order to maintain this authenticity. We eventually cast Storme Toolis, an attendee at our focus groups, who is an established actress here in the UK and also a Scope ambassador.
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