Friday, March 27, 2009

AAPD, American Airlines to honor best TV commercials featuring disabled people

From the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Justice for All blog:

FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines is partnering with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to create an award honoring the best U.S television commercials featuring positive portrayals of people with disabilities. Together, the two organizations will support and recognize the efforts put forth by companies that feature disabled people in their television advertising in creative and compelling ways.

“American Airlines has a long history of diversity and inclusion and is proud to partner with the AAPD to establish this award in honor of all of our employees, customers and partners with disabilities,” said Will Ris, American’s Senior Vice President - Government Affairs and member of the AAPD’s Board of Directors. “We want to acknowledge creative companies who are supporting people with disabilities and understand the business value of inclusive advertising.”

The contest, set to begin in July, is scheduled to run for several weeks. Companies and agencies will be able to submit their commercials, which will be judged by a panel of experts to determine the best of the group. The final winner will receive a highly-coveted month of free advertising airtime on the American Airlines inflight entertainment system, making the winning commercial visible to the tens of thousands of travelers the airline serves each day.

“With more than 56 million people with disabilities in the U.S. alone, it is surprising that companies don’t market more aggressively to disabled people and our families,” said Andrew Imparato , President and CEO of AAPD. “We are delighted to partner with American Airlines to leverage the power of television advertising to help raise the visibility of our community as a powerful consumer force and as valued members of society.”

The American Association of People with Disabilities is the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization with more than 100,000 members throughout the United States. American Airlines Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey announced this competition at AAPD’s Annual Leadership Gala in Washington, D.C., on March 4.