Huge Demographic Virtually Invisible in Media Wants to be Seen


"We have beautiful girls who happen to be sitting who are wearing prom dresses. Why not show inclusivity?" Davis said. "We're not saying every ad has to have it, but we would like to see it become more normal and something that you see more often."

Adweek staff writer Robert Klara said there's "no way this hasn't been on the table" with companies, but believes companies worry about conjuring fears that able-bodied people have of becoming disabled or aging and fear appearing like they are exploiting people for profit.

"I think for those who decide to be pioneers, the risks and rewards are theirs. But let's face it, most established brands are risk averse," Klara told "It may very well be that many brands just simply decide that they're not going to inch too far out on that limb to get that money."

Members of the disabled community say that inclusivity pays off since the community talks among themselves about brands and companies that are inclusive, according to Lawrence Carter-Long of the National Council on Disability.

"They're starting to recognize that if they provide good customer service not only are they catering to people with disabilities but they're catering to the friends and families of people with it's one of those things that fans out exponentially," he said.

Still, taking note is not the same as making moves to change the status quo.

Out of 639 of the largest United States-based public companies analyzed, 31 percent indicated an interest in the market of people with disabilities, but only 7 percent of those backed up that interest with measurable efforts, according to an annual report done by Fifth Quadrant Analytics, a New York-based ratings company that focuses on the disability market.

"You see brands trying this out--they'll try it online, on some specialty channel to see how it goes--and eventually I think it will go mainstream," Klara said. "The question is, how long will it take? I think right now it's safe to say that we're not near it quite yet."

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