Maltesers has been praised for an ‘innovative’ advertisement which sees its round chocolates fashioned into braille text on a bus stop poster.
The plastic chocolate balls, which appear on a bus shelter in Farringdon, London, spell out the words: “Caught a really fast bus once, turns out it was a fire engine.”
The words used for the campaign slogan came from Michelle, a blind woman from Glasgow, who took part in a focus group held by Maltesers and disability charity Scope.
An audio message accompanies the poster and directs people to Maltesers’ Facebook page, where the message is translated so that sighted people can understand it.
The advert has been hailed by charity Scope as an “innovative billboard”, which is helping to normalise disability.
“Disabled people often tell us they rarely see their lives reflected in advertising campaigns and the media and that mainstream advertising remains inaccessible – this innovative billboard challenges both issues,” said the charity’s head of marketing Danielle Wootton.
The poster was designed by agency AMV BBDO, and was unveiled as part of World Braille Day this week.
Michele Oliver, vice president of marketing at Mars Chocolate UK, said: “As one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, we have a responsibility and a role to play in championing greater inclusivity in our advertising and communications.
“Maltesers is the brand that looks on the light side of life and this scenario is just one example of the real-life, everyday experiences of people affected by sight loss; and in this case from Michelle in Glasgow.
“This small-scale activation is a natural next step in our ambition to get closer to our consumers; by normalising disability in advertising and communications, and using humour to challenge preconceptions.”
It’s not the first time Maltesers has been praised for its inclusive advertising. During last year’s Paralympics, the company aired three ads featuring people with disabilities: a woman with cerebral palsy, an office-worker in a wheelchair and two deaf teachers, who communicated via sign language.
The first advert featured actor Stoorme Toolis, who used a packet of Maltesers chocolates to reenact a sexual gesture.
While the advert was a little risqué in nature, it received an overwhelmingly positive response on social media, with many praising it for “normalising disability” in a funny way.
Emily Yates, presenter and disability advocate, said: “Disability is a subject that is often dealt with in a really serious manner, which of course is sometimes needed.
“For those of us with disabilities though, it is important to see the light side of our impairments and many of us have hilariously awkward and unpredictable stories to tell that have often got us noticed for all the wrong reasons.
“Disability needs to be normalised, understood and accepted and campaigns like the one Maltesers has created are dong a fantastic job of making sure perspectives are changing.”