• Channel 4’s £1m Superhumans Wanted competition winners Mars Chocolate launch a new campaign for MALTESERS® that champions diversity and disability
  • The collection of three TV ads, created by AMV BBDO are the latest in the MALTESERS® ‘Look on the Light Side’ series and feature four disabled actors in the lead roles
  • All three ads will be first broadcast exclusively on Channel 4 during the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games on Wednesday 7th September
  • In a UK first, one of the adverts will be aired using British Sign Language and no subtitles

Mars Chocolate uk will launch a new series of adverts for the MALTESERS® brand that champion diversity and disability. They will be broadcast for the first time on Channel 4 during the 2016 Paralympics Games Opening Ceremony tomorrow evening (7th September).

The new ads, created by Mars Chocolate and AMV, are the latest in the MALTESERS® ‘Look on the Light Side’ series and were developed in response to Channel 4’s Superhumans Wanted competition. Mars Chocolate uk and creative agency AMV won £1million of the broadcaster’s commercial airtime for developing a bold, creative idea which puts disability and diversity at the heart of their campaign.

The series comprises three ad creatives, all inspired by real-life stories from disabled people, celebrating universally awkward situations; from embarrassing moments with new boyfriends to behaving badly at a wedding – where the best thing to do is simply look on the light side of life.

In an industry first for the UK, one of the adverts will be aired in silence using just British Sign Language to communicate – and no subtitles will be used.

Watch the adverts here:

New Boyfriend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgUqmKQ9Lrg (opens in a new window)

Dance Floor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB8–PFAJDE (opens in a new window)

Theo’s Dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYIEAIogarI (opens in a new window)

MALTESERS® celebrates the lighter side of everyday life, and the latest ads show that humour can be a powerful force for positive change in overcoming taboos and breaking down barriers surrounding disability. Latest figures reveal that 80% of disabled people feel underrepresented by tv and the media[1]. Together with disability charity Scope, Mars Chocolate – as one of the nation’s biggest advertisers – has a vision to reflect the true diversity of modern society today in its advertising – and the MALTESERS® ad is just the start.

Michele Oliver, VP of Marketing at Mars Chocolate UK: “As one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, we have a responsibility and a role to play in reflecting diversity in everyday media. This is a first step for us, and with a fifth of the uk population living with a disability, and the nation focused on this great sporting event, this is the right time to join the conversation.

“Mars is passionate about using the power of our brands for good and, thanks to the support of Channel 4, we’re proud to be starting our journey to reflect more of the glorious diversity of the Great British public through richer, more inclusive and inspiring advertising. And we hope this is just the start.

“We are one advertiser and to make real change, you need real scale. That’s why, beyond our own ads, we want to open the conversation with other companies and their brands about how we better represent the diversity of modern Britain in our advertising.”

Jonathan Allan, Sales Director at Channel 4: “The calibre of competition entries demonstrated that the uk ad industry can be world-leading in improving representation of disability in advertising. We hope that Mars Chocolate uk and AMV’s bold ambition for these cheeky ads using Maltesers signature format which tv viewers already love, will create a legacy for our Superhumans Wanted initiative, and alongside our latest Paralympics ad, encourage more brands and agencies to approach and cast their campaigns in new ways to make richly diverse ads the norm rather than the exception.”

Cat Collins, Strategy Partner, AMV BBDO: “Rather than creating distance by putting disabled people on a pedestal, we believed we could achieve more by showing disabled people simply as… people. For MALTESERS® that meant seeking out the hilarious stories from their lives that they look on the light side of, just as the characters in the rest of our campaign do. It meant using a powerful weapon to break down discomfort, division and prejudice – a good laugh.”

Lisa Quinlan-Rahman director of external affairs at disability charity Scope: “We know comedy is a great way to shine a light on the awkwardness that many people feel about disability. We hope Maltesers’s use of humour in these adverts will get people thinking differently about disability and help break down the barriers that many disabled people face. But life isn’t always full of laughs and we’ve worked very closely with Mars to ensure the adverts reflect the experiences of disabled people. Disabled people come from an incredibly diverse array of backgrounds. They rarely see their lives reflected in marketing campaigns, the media, in advertising and in public culture.”

“We hope this step by Mars is the first of many. The purple pound is worth over £200 billion a year, and we’d like to see more companies recognising the spending power of disabled consumers.”

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