Casting call: Unilever invites you to be its next star

Posted 11 months ago by David McManus
One of the world’s biggest advertisers is keen to get more people living with disability in front of their cameras. (Source: Unilever)
One of the world’s biggest advertisers is keen to get more people living with disability in front of their cameras. (Source: Unilever)

Unilever’s Act 2 Unstereotype initiative is focused on eradicating harmful stereotypes from marketing and advertising.

Key points:

  • According to research conducted by the company, 73 percent of content creators with disability feel like the industry has left them out
  • The company is committed to productions over €100 thousand  including at least one person with a disability as part of the crew
  • The new ‘believe in talent’ campaign will provide a series of guidelines to help level the playing field in the sector

Are you looking to kickstart a career in the creative industry? Writing, editing, filming, producing and directing are roles which Unilever would like to see filled by content creators living with disability.

The new ‘believe in talent’ campaign is part of the Act 2 Unstereotype mission, with a new toolkit to help recruiters and people in the biz understand disabilities and open their minds to the potential of marginalised people.

New research and feedback provided by content creators from intersectional disabled communities in the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil shows:

  • 62 percent of content creators from the disabled community would consider a job in advertising, TV, radio and film and are already using key skills, like video editing, producing, camera operating, subtitling, directing and scriptwriting, to create their content.
  • 90 percent said they feel people’s attitudes and mindsets are having an impact on including them on production sets.
  • Persons with disabilities only represent 8.3 percent of roles on-screen and six percent off-screen in the UK.
  • In the US, 34 percent of consumers feel under-represented in the media and 52 percent feel inaccurately represented.

Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Unilever, says the company will continue to strive for more creativity in advertising and seek to build better connections with people around the world.

“It’s imperative that persons with disabilities are part of the creative process working both behind the camera and on-screen. Content creators have created this wonderfully inclusive space on social media and are showing us that it’s possible to be authentic and break stereotypes,” she says.

“Advertising stands to benefit from harnessing this skilled talent. The proof is in the results and unstereotypical, progressive advertising is delivering for Unilever 92 percent better brand power, 94 percent better brand difference, 67 percent better brand persuasion and 76 percent better enjoyment of ads.”

Dana Cadden, Unilever’s Global Head of Advertising Production, says the company is committed to changing the way commercial productions handle talent with disability.

“Whilst we still have much to learn, if more brands can make their production sets more inclusive, they will not only create more opportunities for persons with disabilities, but also benefit immensely from the creativity they will bring to our industry,” she says.

The content creators say they would most like to have working behind the camera are casting, being a scriptwriter, script editor or development producer. When asked what needs to be done to get more people with disabilities working on screen and behind the camera, 44 percent of creators said that increased representation of disabled people on and off screen would help.

In the year leading to July 2022, the annual budget for Unilever’s marketing spend was €3.7 billion euro, representing brands such as Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Lynx, Rexona and TRESemmé.