Not just any TV advert…
Tuesday 06 November 2012
Mencap welcomes Marks and Spencer’s advertising campaign featuring a boy with Down’s syndrome and starts discussion on inclusion in advertising
Christmas is nearly here and, this year, it will see a first in the advertising world in Britain. Leading retailer Marks and Spencer will feature a child with Down’s syndrome in its TV advertising campaign.
From tomorrow (Wednesday 7 November), four-year-old Seb White, from Bath, will be on our screens promoting the store’s clothing range. Seb has previously modelled for catalogue company JoJo Maman Bebe – featuring in its autumn catalogue (pictured).
Mencap welcomes Seb’s inclusion. “We are absolutely delighted,” says Mencap spokesperson Emma Harrison. “Seb is a charming and very appealing little boy, and his mother Caroline has fought hard to ensure that he has the same opportunities as lots of other children, to show what he can do and gain confidence.
“The fact that he has Down’s syndrome and will be seen by millions of people on TV and on posters in stores will help us challenge some of the misunderstandings and prejudice that can make life difficult for so many children.”
On Friday 9 November, Mencap started a live web chat about the advert and what it could mean for media inclusion in the future. Seb's mum, Caroline Playle, was one of many people who joined the discussion on Twitter. A range of views were aired – there was great positivity about Seb's inclusion, but others raised the point that real inclusion will not be a reality until adverts like this are not big news.