Creativebrief: Feeding on from that campaign, the theme for BITE LIVE this year is From Insight to Action. Can you talk about a piece of insight that you put into action? Maybe the insight that led to the MARS disability ads?
Mitch Oliver: On a macro level, the insight is, viewers of ours were getting fed up of not seeing themselves, their partners, their children, their parents or their neighbours, reflected on our screens and advertising is actually the worst culprit of that. Worse than films, worse than soap operas. It’s a pissed off factor.
We know 85% of purchasing decisions are made by women and yet there are two times as many men in adverts than there are women, and they have four times the share point. It’s pathetic. They [men in ads] talk with a language of power, intelligence and influence, whereas 1 in 10 ads show women in a state of undress, six times more than men. That’s just women, that’s just gender before you even think about disability. Twenty per cent of the UK population live with a disability; 0.06% of ads show people with a disability. I could go on.
There’s an insight about representation but then there’s a much, much more macro insight on disability. People living with a disability are getting really fed up because we either assume they need to be pitied or they are Paralympians and superheroes. And actually, they don’t want to be pitied nor treated as superheroes. I love the Channel 4 Superheroes work but the role of Maltesers was to tell the stories of women living with disabilities just as people, not the pity or superhumans. That was a massively powerful insight.
We worked with Scope [the disability charity] and we rang groups of women living with disabilities to tell us their stories; that’s where the idea came from. It genuinely was an insight to action.