People with Disabilities – The Last Hidden Demographic

September 4, 2014

By Bill Duggan

Almost 20 percent of Americans identify themselves as having a disability. And there are millions of additional consumers – friends and family – who are somehow connected to a person with a disability. An increasing number of companies and brands are now creating economic and social value by tailoring their information and offerings for people with disabilities. Marriott International is one such company and the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities provides skills to prepare young people with disabilities for the workplace. Similarly, their partnership with the U.S. Business Leadership Network allows business owners with disabilities to supply goods and services to Marriott and leverage the company's supply chain benefits.

This year, for the first time, the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards offered a category for advertising targeted to people with disabilities. We were delighted with the robust number of entries, and quality creative, in this category. Brands that submitted entries include AT&T, Duracell, Equinox, Intel, Mass Mutual, Special Olympics, Swiffer, and Walmart. ANA appreciates the work of Essential Accessibility for their role in raising awareness among the advertising community in the opportunity to create loyalty and drive business results by resonating with this group. 

The ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Committee and Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference (the latter now in its sixteenth year) have always advocated the benefits of marketing to an increasingly diverse nation. We are now proud to recognize people with disabilities – perhaps the last hidden demographic – in the awards and conference.

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