Our Passionate about Stories series looks at storytelling from organisations of all shapes and sizes. The series gives us an opportunity to learn from brands we love and develop our storytelling skills.
When it comes to advertising, Maltesers and their parent company Mars, are passionate about telling great stories. They’re also passionate about making sure all of their audience is represented. Representing disability in mainstream advertising has become one of their core storytelling missions.
Mars, the parent company of Maltesers, has been a family-owned company for over 100 years. They produce and sell a selection of well-known confectionary, food products and pet care products around the world. Some of their best-known brands include Dolmio, Pedigree and Wrigley’s chewing gum.
A customer favourite of their products is Maltesers. Created in England in 1936, the chocolate balls were first sold in 1937. A firm favourite, the lighter way to enjoy chocolate has been consistently popular.
Look at the light side of disability
Throughout the years Maltesers has always had eye-catching and story focused advertising. Their campaigns have often become talking points, many people will remember trying to pick up Maltesers with straws, an idea which came from one of their tv ads.
In 2016 Maltesers decided to take a different approach to their advertising. After discovering the fact that 80% of disabled people feel underrepresented by TV and the media, the brand set out to include more people with disabilities in their advertisements.
The Channel 4 competition, ‘Superhumans Wanted’ inspired this initiative. This offered brands and advertisers the chance to win £1m of airtime to develop a creative idea that puts disability and diversity at the heart of the campaign.
Working with the creative agency AMV BBDO they came up with a series of three ads. Real life stories from disabled people were the inspiration for the commercials. The ads celebrated universally awkward situations.
The message behind this idea was to show that humourous situations can break down barriers and be a force for change.
Advertisements can easily and seamlessly include disabled people, the Maltesers ads showed this. The reaction to the ads was overwhelmingly positive, showing the benefit to being more inclusive.
Following the campaign Mars’ vice-president of marketing Michele Oliver urged brands to think differently about diversity by not seeing it as an afterthought.
Sales rose by 8.1% and the commercials continue to be a resounding success for the brand.