ITV has launched a marketing campaign to highlight and raise awareness of invisible disabilities.
One in five individuals have a disability and the famous faces featured in the ad use the space to share their disabilities of which the public might otherwise not have been aware.
Developed in partnership with Scope and devised by ITV Creative, The Chase star Paul Sinha, author and TV Katie Piper, actress and Loose Woman star Kelle Bryan and Real Housewives of Cheshire star Tanya Bardsley all appear in the spot, describing their hidden talents and achievements, their nicknames, hobbies, and the alternative careers they would have like to have pursued.
Each then reveals their hidden disability, highlighting the fact that just because one cannot see it, does not mean it’s not there.
Sinha said: "Ever since my diagnosis with Parkinson's Disease I have noticed how much of the public are only dimly aware of the symptoms, and how much many press outlets deliberately misrepresent. Working with ITV’s Invisible Disabilities is my way of helping redress this."
Piper, who suffered horrific injuries in an acid attack in 2008, revealed she is blind in her left eye and said: "ITV’s Invisible Disabilities campaign is hugely important to me personally and professionally. It is something I have championed for many years across all of my projects. Being more aware, and embracing inclusion and difference internally and externally is crucial not only in broadcast, but in today’s society. I am a proud ambassador for this campaign, and hope it raises much-needed awareness of invisible disabilities in society."
The campaign was launched as part of ITV’s commitment to help create culture change around disability perception and representation.
It encourages audiences to find out more at itv.com/disability which will provide further information about invisible impairments and conditions, and tips from disabled people on what non-disabled people can do to be an ally, alongside testimonials from members of ITV’s internal disability network, ITV Able on their experiences.
The site will also include information about ITV's Diversity and Inclusion plan.
New research commissioned by the channel has found that less than a third of the UK population are aware of the levels of disability in the UK and that among those with a disability, only 40% feel confident about telling people they are disabled.
The Invisible Disabilities campaign is part of ITV’s Social Purpose commitment to shaping culture for good, including fostering creativity by championing diversity, equality and inclusion.
Susie Braun, director of social purpose, ITV said: “ITV is pleased to put this important issue centre stage for our viewers. Some 14 million people in the UK are disabled, but invisible disability isn’t something that is often talked about and recognised. We’re delighted to work with Scope to help change that.”
Paul Fuller, Scope’s executive director of partnerships, said: “One in five of us in the UK are disabled, but this is not always obvious. At Scope, we unfortunately hear regularly from disabled people who have experienced negative attitudes, social isolation and a lack of understanding.
"We hope ITV’s campaign will increase awareness of invisible impairments and conditions. It has the potential to challenge viewers, encourage them to deepen their understanding and to become disability allies. For 30 years I transitioned from sight loss through to blindness, so have extensive lived experience of an 'invisible disability'. I am delighted ITV has approached Scope to support them and hope this campaign will lead to real impact for disabled people.”
The campaign follows last week’s Tonight programme which focused on the subject of invisible disabilities, presented by Saima Mohsin. It saw her speak to contributors including Christine McGuinness who spoke about having three children with autism, Bobby Trundley, a young racing driver with autism, and Evie Toombes, a young para showjumper with spina bifida.