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The Changing Face of Influence and the Faces Changing It: Panel Wrap-Up at Cannes Can Diversity Collective’s Inkwell Beach

June 24, 2021
By Lauren Winter and Christina Peach

Did you know:   

  • 15% – 20% of the world’s population have a disability (around 14 million people), representing the largest minority group in the world. 
  • 650,000 people have Vitiligo (white patches on the skin caused by lack of melanin).   
  • Eight million women in the UK have experienced Alopecia or hair loss.   

If you didn’t know these stats and the number of people included, it wouldn’t surprise me. Research shows that people with disabilities make up only 0.06% of those featured in advertising; in fashion and beauty, this drops even lower to 0.01%.   

These astonishing, yet humbling stats were shared by our new partner Zebedee during our 2021 Cannes Can: Diversity Collective’s Inkwell Beach’s Virtual Session panel discussion. Zebedee is a specialist talent agency with a mission to ensure people of various representation in the media.

Our partnership with Zebedee will set the tone and reset mindsets; it will change how brands think, act and behave, to set better industry standards of representation. It’s not a should-do. It’s a must-do for us all to put this into action.   

There is enormous untapped potential, and the power of representation is clear already. One of Zebedee’s star talents, Ellie Goldstein, was featured in a campaign for a global luxury fashion brand. On social, it became the most engaged post in their history, beating the likes of Harry Styles. It shows that not only does this work resonate, it matters. 

Brands are powerful, and when two come together for one meaningful mission, exciting things can happen.  

Partnerships like ours with Zebedee can give a voice to those who have been left behind by society, and ensure they are seen and heard — ultimately disrupting sectors and driving more inclusive work.

In a world where community is the new celebrity, the role of celebrities is changing. It’s a path to navigate for brands to act with bravery so that you’re not part of a ‘trend’; instead, you set the story and move culture forward.  

Throughout the social revolution of the past 12 months, every dimension of DE&I has come into greater focus, and we as communicators with the ability to influence our clients must not leave communities behind. The disability community makes up approximately one billion people globally, and for too long, the community has been overlooked. Organisations like Zebedee and the brands that embrace working with them will experience business and reputational benefits.

Why this is important work and how FleishmanHillard and Zebedee can help brands: 

  1. It is Morally the Right Thing to Do: We all need to work together to create an equitable and inclusive society. 
  2. Language: People and brands are at different points along their DE&I journeys; we can help educate them on how to address people and talk about their various abilities.
  3. Access and Needs: Arming you and your teams with the knowledge of things that people need, including accessible events and how to brief them. It’s all in the detail. 
  4. It’s Not Box-Ticking: We all need to start somewhere — big or small, it matters that you take action.  
  5. Do Better Work: We can work with your teams to develop creative and powerful campaigns for brands that matter to your audiences.

Photo courtesy of Zebedee

Whilst our partnership is new, it is work that we’ve been doing and continuously strive to do better, and this relationship further solidifies our ambitions. We’re hugely committed to working with talent of all backgrounds and abilities to build communities that reflect the world around us. Our commitment will always be to connect our brands to Zebedee, making the space campaigns can afford to take up and representing an authentic view of society.

Watch the ‘Community is the new celebrity — the changing face of influence and the faces changing it’ panel discussion at Cannes Can: Diversity Collective’s Inkwell Beach here.  

The Youth and Culture team and Zebedee will be speaking at Martha’s Vineyard Aug. 10-12. Mark your calendars!  

Contact us here to find out more about how our partnership with Zebedee can help your organisation.