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nib joins Dylan Alcott's Shift 20 to change how disability is represented in Australian advertising

nib joins Dylan Alcott's Shift 20 to change how disability is represented in Australian advertising

nib has joined the Dylan Alcott Foundation Shift 20 Initiative to change the visibility of people with disability in advertising.

Dylan Alcott AO, a brand ambassador for nib, launched the initiative on September 17 to transform disability representation and normalise seeing and hearing people with disability in advertising.

One of ten well-known Australian brands to take part in Shift 20, nib has replaced its lead role in its current advertising campaign ‘nib. As exciting as health insurance gets’ with 26-year-old, Rae Pastuszak, an actress who lives with Down syndrome.

“You will see Rae in our ad spot named ‘Traffic’ on your TV’s this month. We’ll continue to feature Rae within our TV ad as part of our advertising rotation throughout the year and you’ll also see her in various online marketing for the Shift 20 Initiative,” nib Head of Marketing and Digital, Chris Donald said.

nib’s participation in the launch is just the first step of the Shift 20 initiative, to raise awareness and start a conversation about the lack of representation of people with disability in advertising, Chris said.

“There are around 20% or more than 4 million [1], people living with a disability in Australia, yet it’s not often that you see a person with a disability on screen or in advertising.

“Normalising seeing and hearing people with disability in advertising is important. And, we can’t underplay the positive benefits representation has on health and wellbeing, as well as other benefits, like job opportunities and inclusion in the workplace,” Mr Donald said.

Rae’s mum, Dianne Pastuszak, said that she was proud to see Rae featured in mainstream advertising.

“It was nice for Rae to be cast in something that wasn't for a disability service provider - Rae buys clothes, makeup, glasses, watches, phones, food, gin - yet she doesn't see anyone like her advertising them in Australia.

“I would love to see people with intellectual disabilities cast in regular things and in stories where they focus on the character and not a character with a disability - normalising it rather than making it about who we are including. That is the future I hope for,” she said.

Dylan Alcott said that Dianne’s hope for disability representation in media is the reason why he started the Shift 20 Initiative and hopes more brands will come onboard so that young Australians will grow up seeing themselves represented in everyday life.

“When I was a kid, the only time I’d see someone like me on TV was as a result of a tragic car accident, and that hasn’t really changed. That breaks my heart. Seeing people like me on TV would have changed my life, and that’s what is so powerful about this initiative.

The talent are not famous people with disability, instead they’re ordinary people doing ordinary things; eating breakfast, opening bank accounts and going to work,” Dylan said.

ANZ, AAMI, Bonds, Kia, McDonalds, nib, Weet-bix, Uber, Oral-B and Pantene are the brands who participated in the Shift 20 launch and have committed to fairer representation of people with disability within ads and marketing.

“We’re committed to increasing disability visibility within our communications and are working closely with Dylan to achieve this.  It’s just the beginning, and we acknowledge we still have a way to go,” Mr Donald said.

“Since Dylan was appointed as nib’s brand ambassador and chief motivation officer in June, nib has been a proud partner on several initiatives in Dylan’s advocacy and disability work, to help improve its own workplace inclusion and accessibility practices for people with disability.

‘We’ve advertised over 95 jobs through the Field disability jobs platform and engaged Dylan’s consultancy business to advise on various business practices, as well as donated a proportion of funds within our commercial agreement to the Dylan Alcott Foundation. And, we’re eager to work with Dylan to support our newest NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) business, nib Thrive, as that part of our business grows,” Mr Donald said.

To find out more about the Shift 20 initiative visit Watch nib's ad campaign featuring Rae.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018), Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, ABS Website, accessed 22 August 2023.

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