The Minister for Disabled People and the Government’s disability champion for advertising, Sam Phillips, have come together to encourage the advertising, media and marketing industries to become more inclusive of disabled people.

The call to action came on the 18th May as Sam Phillips interviewed the Minister on stage at Media 360 in Brighton to discuss what more the industry can do to appeal to disabled customers.

More than one in five people in the UK has a disability or long-term health condition, but disabled people remain vastly under-represented in marketing.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, said:

“We know that disabled people and their households have a combined spending power of £249 billion a year, so the advertising industry is really missing an opportunity by not creating outputs that represent this huge customer base.

“But it doesn’t just make good business sense – the advertising industry has a social responsibility to be more inclusive. Improving media representation of the UK’s 14 million disabled people has the potential to change public perceptions of disability for the better.”

Last year, Mars UK revealed that its Maltesers advert featuring disabled cast members was its most successful in a decade, leading to an 8.1% uplift in sales.

Chief Marketing Officer of Omnicom Media Group UK and Chair of OPEN UK, Sam Phillips, said:

“I am passionate about the difference our industry can make when it comes to disability visibility. The proportion of Britons with some sort of disability – be that dyslexia, autism, Down’s Syndrome or a host of others – is 20%, which is far higher than most in our industry appreciate.

“Incorporating disability into planning and outputs can drive greater commercial success and is societally important. I look forward to eyes and ears being opened and to seeing real change post today’s call to action.”