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 below:
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. 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.
Notes to the Editor:
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 72,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, KITEKAT®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA™ and WISDOM PANEL™
About AMV BBDO
AMV BBDO is the UK’s largest advertising agency and has been ranked number one agency by Nielsen for the last 18 consecutive years. AMV employs well over 400 people, works across 85 brands and has one simple aim with all of them: to help solve their business challenge with creative ideas that change the competitive landscape. AMV works across all media producing award-winning work in TV, Print, Radio, Experiential and Online. AMV is part of the BBDO network, the third largest Agency network in the world, with 288 offices across 80 countries. AMV BBDO are currently the Most Awarded Agency at Marketing Society; Most Awarded Agency for Social Strategy at WARC and Creative Agency of the Year at Creative Circle and Creative Review. The agency was ranked 17 in Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For in 2012.
About Channel 4 Superhumans Wanted
Launched at Advertising Week Europe as part of Channel 4’s Year of Disability, Channel 4’s Superhumans Wanted competition staked £1 million of its commercial airtime as a prize – with an exclusive launch spot in the 2016 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony – to encourage brands and media and creative agencies to prominently feature disability and disabled talent in their advertising campaigns.
Mars Chocolate UK and AMV BBDO were the overall winners selected from nearly 90 entries received from a broad range of brands and agencies.
The judging panel, chaired by Jonathan Allan, included: Tim Lefroy, CEO, Advertising Association; Claire Beale, Global Editor-in-Chief, Campaign; Tom Knox, President, IPA; Mike Hughes, Director General, ISBA; Chris Bovill & John Allison, Heads of 4Creative; and Dan Brooke, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Channel 4.
Scope (opens in a new window) exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we’ll be here. We provide support, information and advice to more than a quarter of a million disabled people and their families every year. We raise awareness of the issues that matter to disabled people. Two-thirds of people feel awkward around disability. We want to end that.
About the adverts
Advert one: ‘New Boyfriend’
The first advert features Jo who has just met her new boyfriend. Jo is sitting at a table in outside with two of her girlfriends and they’re sharing a bag of MALTESERS®. Jo is in a power chair and has cerebral palsy; she is holding a packet of MALTESERS®. We join them mid-conversation. Jo goes on to describe the first time she gets intimate with her new boyfriend when all of a sudden, she has an uncontrollable spasm which he mistakes for something else! Jo mimes the situation to her friends who find it both shocking and hilarious in equal measure. Jo continues to mime the situation and holding a packet of MALTESERS®, shakes so violently that the MALTESERS® jump from the bag and fly all over the place. The final shot is of the girls laughing together and the tag line ‘Look on the Light Side’.
Advert two: ‘Theo’s Dog’
The second advert is set in a staff room at a school. Alison and Kate, two of the teachers, are both deaf. They are signing to each other whilst enjoying a cup of tea and a bag of MALTESERS®. The advert will be fully subtitled after initial un-subtitled airings. Kate begins to describe the evening before when she went round to Theo’s house. She tells Alison that he has a new dog who jumps up at her and accidentally knocks her hearing aid out. She then simulates the dog swallowing her hearing aid using a MALTESERS® as a prop. Alison looks aghast and asks what Theo said? Kate tells Alison that he said she can have it back sometime tomorrow! Alison clocks on and the girls laugh, while the audience is left wondering whether Kate was being serious and the tag line ‘Look on the Light Side’ appears.
Advert three: ‘Dance Floor’
The third advert is set in an office canteen. Two women and a man are catching up over a bag of MALTESERS®. One of them, Chrissy, is in a wheelchair. We join them mid-conversation. Chrissy starts to tell them about a wedding where she was a guest. All the guests were on the dancefloor including her, dancing and enjoying themselves. Chrissy simulates the moment one of the wheels of her chair rolls over the bride’s foot, using a MALTESERS®. The MALTESERS® is crushed. Both friends look aghast. Chrissy finishes her story by explaining that it wasn’t all bad as she left with the Best Man’s number; all three of them laugh at her cheek while the tag line ‘Look on the Light Side’ appears.
Watch the adverts below: