While 26% of people in the U.S. have disabilities, only 1% of TV ads show them, according to new research by Nielsen.
Nielsen bases its number of people with disabilities on Centers for Disease Control data, and its number for ads based on an analysis of more than 450,000 prime-time ads that ran on broadcast and cable in February.
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Marketing to people with disabilities has gotten newfound attention of late, with Unilever having won a Cannes Innovation Grand Prix for its development of deodorant for people with visual and upper-body impairments and Schick launching a social media campaign around its Intuition razor. And shops that include WPP’s Wunderman Thompson and Omnicom’s Interbrand have launched specialty units aimed at meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Nielsen also recently documented a major increase in entertainment programming showing people with disabilities over the years.
But that hasn’t changed portrayals in advertising, Nielsen finds. Spending on ads including people with a disability or with disability-related themes totaled nearly $57 million in February, but nearly half of that came from the pharmaceuticals and health care industries. Health care and mortgage advertisers made up most of the rest.