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adam&eveDDB support International Paralympic Committee to launch #WeThe15, the world’s biggest inclusivity movement for people with disabilities
adam&eveDDB is supporting the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and multiple international organisations to launch a decade-long global campaign that sets out to become the world’s biggest ever human rights movement for the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities.
The movement, #WeThe15, takes its name from the 15% of the global population who have a disability: the world’s largest marginalised group forgotten by the inclusivity agenda. For these 1.2 billion people, access to basic human rights such as healthcare, education and employment, are at best limited and at worst non-existent, making it harder for people with disabilities to live, work, thrive, or even survive.
Spearheaded by the IPC and International Disability Alliance, #WeThe15 sees the largest-ever coalition of organisations unite behind this cause – 20 in total, including UN Human Rights, UNESCO, Special Olympics, and The Valuable 500 - with the goal of putting people with disabilities at the heart of the inclusivity agenda.
The campaign by adam&eveDDB is supported by an identity developed by Pentagram, a film by Pulse Films (and director Sam Pilling), and PR handled by FleishmanHillard, Porter Novelli and Portland. It launches on Thursday 19 August, five days before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics begin. The Paralympics mark just the start of a 10-year drive for human rights-based progress for the 15%.
Harry Pearce and team’s striking identity for #WeThe15 includes a wordmark, a symbol, and sonic branding by fellow Pentagram partner Yuri Suzuki. The wordmark echoes the hashtag (to ensure maximum visibility across social media) and the symbol is a clear visual representation of what the percentage actually looks like. Throughout the Paralympic Games, athletes will wear temporary tattoos made from the #WeThe15 symbol.
A vibrant shade of purple was chosen for the identity as this represents the international colour of disability. To honour this, a total of 125 iconic global landmarks across 6 continents - from Tokyo’s Skytree to Niagara Falls - will be illuminated in purple light on 19 August when the campaign launches. For the full list of landmarks, see editor’s notes.
Dozens of organisations and brands, including Allianz, Coca Cola, Facebook, Twitter,, Intel, BP, Visa and many more, will show their support by sharing bespoke content, updated logos, and their plans for progressing the inclusivity agenda.
The campaign launch film will go live on 19 August and be screened by multiple broadcasters around the world including Channel 4 and NBC during the Paralympic Games. The film will also be broadcast live to an audience of over 250 million worldwide during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.
The film, created by Pulse Films and director Sam Pilling, sets out to shift the narrative around people with disabilities away from one in which they are either stereotyped as objects of pity, or put on a pedestal, in order to emphasise that disability is not an “other” - it is humanity. It opens with real quotes that show the way people with disabilities are framed by even the well-meaning, before a cast of people with disabilities challenge viewers to recognise them not through those stereotypes, but as ordinary people who demand true inclusion. Filmed in Bogota, Bangkok, London, Johannesburg, Milan and Manila, the film features nearly 40 persons with disabilities assembled in partnership with disabled talent agency and consultancy C Talent.
Contextual outdoor creative designed by Pentagram, emphasising the scale of the community of persons with disabilities, will run in high-profile sites across the UK, USA, Canada, Japan and France, including a complete domination of Piccadilly Lights in London, supported by Ocean Outdoor, provoking audiences to consider the lack of representation in the world around them.
A team of PR agencies are supporting the campaign in the following ways:
● As part of FleishmanHillard’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the campaign is a marquee part of the firm’s globalFH4Inclusion pro bono initiative. In support of the #WeThe15 campaign, FleishmanHillard is providing strategic counsel and global media relations support; underpinned by specialist DE&I, sports and cultural communications expertise. The long-term narrative was developed by FleishmanHillard, nuanced by the communities across eight supporting international markets: Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, South Africa, UK and the U.S. FleishmanHillard also helped secure iconic landmarks to promote the campaign by being lighted, including the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and Tokyo Skytree.
● Porter Novelli has managed all macro influencer and celebrity ambassador outreach around the #WeThe15 programme and worked with the IPC directly to advise on additional mid-tier and micro influencer outreach.
● Portland provided political engagement in a range of markets, including the UK, France, Germany, North America and South East Asia, and led on developing the messaging narrative for the campaign.
Craig Spence, Chief Brand and Communications Officer at the International Paralympic Committee, said:
“At the IPC we believe that Change Starts with Sport and through #WeThe15 we want to change the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities.
“By partnering with multiple international organisations to launch #WeThe15 ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games we want to use the platform of the world’s third biggest sport event to spark a decade long transformation for the world’s largest marginalised group.”
Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, said:
“One of the reasons why I was inspired to create the Invictus Games was to help destigmatise physical and invisible injuries and give the men and women who have experienced them a platform to show the world that they and we can accomplish anything, when we put our mind to it. Everybody at the Invictus Games Foundation is honoured to join the WeThe15 campaign and believe in its mission to inspire meaningful change in communities around the world.”
Mat Goff, CEO at adam&eveDDB, said:
“WeThe15 gives a voice to the biggest unheard group in the Inclusion agenda. This Tokyo 2020 launch campaign is just the start of a movement that will drive real change for over a billion people worldwide. The more brands and organisations and people that get involved in this movement, the louder that voice will be and the faster the change will come.”
Fenella Grey, EMEA Managing Director at Porter Novelli London said:
“We feel hugely privileged to be part of such a powerful movement that will be the catalyst of tangible change, globally. Our involvement has also helped us further shape our own approach to disability both as an employer and as creative communicators – we are committed to applying the disability filter in everything we do. It’s time to close the say-do gap and the 10-year programme will keep us all honest to the cause the #Wethe15 programme stands for.”
Mark Flanagan, Portland’s Chief Executive said:
“We are extremely proud to be part of the WeThe15 campaign, with a focus on improving the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion people with disabilities. As an agency, we are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in our own workplace and across society, so we are delighted to play a part in this 10-year campaign.”
Jim Donaldson, CEO at FleishmanHillard UK, said:
“This is a seminal moment for the IPC and all #WeThe15 partners, with the campaign promising to make a seismic and long overdue difference to the lives of many people around the world. FleishmanHillard could not be more excited to be triggering that change. Often, we find ourselves asking, ‘what can I do to help?’. Registering your support for this movement, critical to advancing the rights of the global disability community, is a welcome start. Change can only begin by communicating, and we encourage everyone to use their voice to support this incredible cause.”
Further quotes in support of the campaign
IPC President Andrew Parsons said:
“WeThe15 aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement for persons with disabilities and aims to put disability right at the heart of the inclusion agenda, alongside ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
“By uniting several leading international organisations and the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities behind one common movement, we will make a tangible and well overdue difference for the planet’s largest marginalised group.
“Sport, and events such as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, are hugely powerful vehicles to engage global audiences. By partnering with Special Olympics, Invictus Games, and Deaflympics, there will be at least one major international sport event for persons with disabilities to showcase WeThe15 each year between now and 2030. These sports events add great value to the campaign and underline the hugely positive impact sport can have on society. I strongly believe WeThe15 could be a real game-changer for persons with disabilities.”
Ana Lucia Arellano, Chairperson of the International Disability Alliance, said:
“Over the past 20 years, a lot has been achieved regarding the inclusion of persons with disabilities. We successfully advocated for the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as to be included in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
“Looking into the future, we recognise that there is still a lot to be done if we want to achieve the full inclusion of more than a billion persons we represent. We need new creative and innovative approaches, and we need much broader coalition to achieve that. WeThe15 has a unique opportunity and responsibility to achieve exactly that – to be a platform where more and new actors will come together making the ‘Nothing about us without us’ a real change for all persons with disabilities.”
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:
“WeThe15 is bringing together a unique group of partners – disability-specific sports organisations, the disability rights movement, people from the private sector, researchers and the United Nations – to work together to change the narrative on disability, and to make human rights-based development a reality for persons with disabilities.
“We plan to build on the multiple Paralympic Games in Beijing, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles, particularly in the local communities, to make it clear that upholding and advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities is relevant, doable and necessary – for everyone’s benefit.”
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said:
“More than one billion people live with a disability today, and yet the world is still far from truly recognizing and honouring this 15 percent of society. It is time to change our perception of people with disabilities, and make their voices heard everywhere. The sporting achievements of the Paralympic athletes are, in this way, formidable sources of inspiration and examples for all of us. UNESCO is proud to join the WeThe15 movement and its unique coalition to build a world that puts inclusion front and centre."
Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500, said:
“The Paralympics is itself one of the largest sporting events in terms of global visibility. This partnership of so many international organisations coming together for the WeThe15 campaign is long overdue. That said, this is a ground-breaking moment for representation of people with disabilities around the world. To see these organisations working together as part of this global movement - working to destigmatise disability and committing to being fully inclusive is a massive leap in the right direction.
“Disability is often left out of inclusion debates- and that is no longer acceptable. We truly believe that this movement for global inclusion based on collective collaboration is essential - and business needs to be involved. I’m proud to bring the business community with the Valuable 500 and we look forward to supporting the campaign and helping it to evolve over the coming years."
Helena Dalli, the European Commission’s Commissioner for Equality said:
“I am privileged to partner with the International Paralympic Committee to combat stereotypes and foster inclusion in sport.
“WeThe15 seeks to eliminate barriers and uphold the equal rights of persons with disabilities. This is our shared responsibility and it requires resolute and joint efforts.”
Eddie Ndopu, award-winning humanitarian and UN SDG Advocate, said:
“It brings me tremendous joy to throw my unwavering support behind WeThe15. This historic campaign is the cultural tipping point 15% of the world's total population has been waiting for.
“Let it be known that from here on out, disabled people everywhere, from Dallas to Damascus, will hold strong in our refusal to participate in society's attempts to shrink and contain us. This is the dawn of our liberation. And, oh, what a glorious sight to behold!"
Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics, said:
“Global goals for development and equality will only be met when people with disabilities are taken off the margins.
“Since disabilities transcend borders, age, gender identity, income, and every other demographic, they are too often excluded from vertical programming. Sport is an incredibly effective way to get people with disabilities off the sidelines and accelerate the world’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. WeThe15 strengthens the approach of sport for development, and Special Olympics is proud to be a member of this coalition.”
Gustavo Perazzolo, President of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, said:
“Sport is a universal language that unifies people—persons with disabilities. For the first time, major disabled sports organisations will use the profile of their international sports events and athlete communities to remove barriers and protect the rights of persons with disabilities who have the courage to step up and go for what they believe in.
“WeThe15 is the dawn of a new time, time to stop considering the only perfection but start looking at the strengths of those out there changing the world, time for action with no prejudices and no one left behind. With everyone on board committed to eliminating the misconceptions and biases that hold back persons with disabilities, we will focus on changing perspectives and raising awareness. Everything is possible. Make it happen, and the ICSD supports you!”
Michael Sheldrick, Co-founder and Chief Policy Officer, Global Citizen, said:
"Global Citizen's mission to defeat poverty and defend the planet can only be achieved when everyone, everywhere is empowered to live their best lives and to contribute to the creation of a more equitable and just world. We are delighted to add our voice to the #Wethe15 campaign and to join forces with so many champions as we work together to centre the human rights of persons with disabilities in our shared future."
H.E. Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), said:
“The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is honoured to join the global human rights movement WeThe15. I hope that our collective efforts will contribute to end discrimination against persons with disabilities and foster a more inclusive society where, despite our differences, we can all live together peacefully as one humanity.”
Marina Ponti, Director, UN SDG Action Campaign, said:
“The UN SDG Action Campaign is proud to support the WeThe15 campaign to shine a light on the incredible achievements by persons with disabilities – from sports and the creative arts, to innovation and astrophysics. Inclusivity is at the heart of the SDG agenda, and we must all guarantee we keep the promise of leaving no one behind because it is up to all of us to ensure human rights for all, and to turn it around for people and planet.”
Jon Lomoy, Board Chair of ATscale, the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology said:
“Having access to assistive technology can make the difference between failure or success in school, between a job or unemployment, between a life of opportunity or a life of dependency. The athletes at the Paralympic Games show us what is possible in sports. It is up to all of us to follow their example and promote inclusion in all aspects of life.“
Keely Cat-Wells, CEO of C-Talent and Zetta Studios, said:
“WeThe15 is a historic movement created for and by disabled people, it shows the power we have as a collective and through solidarity, alliship, and action we can build a kinder, more inclusive world. WeThe15 is breaking myths, smashing stereotypes and showing the world that we are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment and true equality. I believe to change the world we have to learn to tell and listen to a new set of stories about the world that we want to create, by creating accessible spaces and hiring authentic voices. We are so proud to be working on WeThe15 to disrupt a broken system and build a better future for both disabled and non-disabled people.”
Victoria Austin, CEO of Global Disability Innovation Hub and Director of the WHO Global Collaborating Center on AT at UCL, said:
“London 2012 showed us what’s possible. We set up GDI Hub to continue to drive disability innovation for a fairer world; we wanted to ‘change the world a little bit’. By joining WeThe15, we know it’s time to ‘change the world a lot’. It will be hard. But together, we can do hard things and never has it been more necessary to find our strength in each other - in all of our beautiful diversity. Lets do this!”
Martin Essl, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Zero Project, said:
“The WeThe15 campaign underlines the richness and depth of our global communities. The Zero Project is honoured to contribute to the We the 15 campaign with its research-driven attention to innovation and its solution-based communities for all persons with disabilities.”
Dominic Haslam, Chair of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC), said:
“WeThe15 is a hugely important global initiative, harnessing the power of sport to further the human rights agenda and the need for justice and equity for persons with disabilities around the world. IDDC is proud to be a member, working alongside organisations from around the world to deliver positive change.”
All landmarks turning purple on 19th August
Old Walls of Jerusalem
Tower of David
Tokyo Metropolitan Highway
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Suntec City (Fountain of Wealth, West Wing Façade & Suntec Plaza)
Ocean Financial Centre
Esplanade (Outdoor Theatre)
Bugis + (Shopping Mall)
National Stadium (Scupper Lights)
Gardens by the Bay (SkyTree)
The Fullerton Hotel
Vienna Town Hall
Brussels City Hall - Grand Square
Petrin Lookout Tower
Tallinn TV Tower
Railway Station of Helsinki
The Elysee (Presidents House)
Ministry of Sport
Paris 2024 HQ
Paris City Hall
Ottobock Science Centre
DHL Post Tower
Palazzo Pirelli (headquarter of Lombardy), copy
Palazzo Marino (headquarter of the City of Milan),
Palazzo del Municipio di Cortina d'Ampezzo
Polish Olympic Committee Building
Palace of Science
el Palau de les Arts
La Plaza de Espana
Friends Arena (Stockholm)
Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge
Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
Top floor of City Hall (London’s Living Room),
Beacon of Light
One Canada Sq
Natural History Museum
BT Tower, London
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
London Stadium (Screen Only)
St George Hall
Brighton Palace Pier
Portico Building - UCL
Belfast City Hall
Old Parliament House
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
The National Carillon
The Royal Australian Mint
Nauru Sea Wall
PALACIO DE BELLAS ARTES
John Hancock Centre
The Founatin at One Atalntic Centre
Las Vegas City Hall
Highmark Stadium, Home of the Buffalo Bills
Fore River Bridge
T-Mobile Field, home ballpark of the Seattle Mariners
Bank of America Plaza
Globe Life Park
Centennial Olympic Park
875 North Michigan Avenue
M&T Bank Stadium
Empire State Building
About the agencies involved
adam&eveDDB, Omnicom Media Group, FleishmanHillard, Porter Novelli and Portland are all owned by Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), a global network that encompasses more than 1000 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.
Pentagram is a multi-disciplinary, independently-owned design studio. Their work encompasses graphics and identity, products and packaging, exhibitions and installations, websites and digital experiences, advertising and communications, sound and motion.