Imagine the humiliation of being patronised or ignored every day, just because others feel awkward around you. That’s the real situation for the majority of disabled people in the UK. So Scope, MediaCom & Channel 4 worked together to create the “End the Awkward” campaign to make a real difference to the nation.nImagine the humiliation of being patronised or ignored every day, just because others feel awkward around you. That’s the real situation for the majority of disabled people in the UK. So Scope, MediaCom & Channel 4 worked together to create the “End the Awkward” campaign to make a real difference to the nation.
Us Brits are a bit, erm… awkward.
To be more specific, we’re awkward around disabled people. In fact, two-thirds of British people told Scope that they just don’t know what to do when they meet a personwith a disability. That means we panic. We freeze. And we worry about getting it wrong so much that we go out of our way to avoid disabled people altogether. So much so that the vast majority of the UK’s 11 million disabled people say they are treated differently.
We needed to tackle the innocent ignorance without preaching or lecturing.
The best way to shine a light on awkward behaviour is to play it back in real-life scenarios and the best way to show those is through video content. We realised that a humorous video series addressing real-life awkward situations could be a powerful way of engaging and informing our target audience of 18-35 yearolds. We called the series ‘End the Awkward’.
Our key partners were C4 and a sense of humour.
MediaCom knew that the perfect partner to help us create this content was Channel 4, because no other broadcaster in the UK has done more to challenge attitudes to disability. So we worked together to create a series of short films, called ‘What Not to Do’, based on real-life awkward moments faced by disabled people. The series is fronted by Alex Brooker, Scope’s ambassador and star of Channel 4’s The Last Leg. The six three-minute films see Brooker react to different scenarios as hidden camera set-ups expose awkwardness around disability. Using humour was a way for Scope to help viewers feel more confident about including disabled people in their lives – the first step to ending the awkward. The bespoke content lived exclusively on Channel 4’s on-demand platform All 4 for 30 days before becoming available to view via Scope’s social channels and website.
We made 84% of viewers think differently about disability after seeing the campaign.
We reached over 60% of 18-35s, with view completion rates over 90% on YouTube. The series also made a significant impact on attitudes and behaviour; 71% said they would talk about the content and issues raised with friends and family.
“Has set the standard for disabled representation both on and off screen they have made a real difference.”
Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Disabled People