Ad of the Day: Tom Hooper directs Vanish’s £1m Channel 4 diversity in ad campaign
The film hopes to spark conversations about girls who have autism.
Garment care brand Vanish has unveiled its Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award campaign titled ‘Me, My Autism and I’. The ad campaign is based on the findings that autistic girls are three times less likely to receive a diagnosis than boys and the process can take up to two years longer.
Created by Havas London, the short takes viewers through a day in the life of a 15-year-old autistic girl named Ash. We witness how she navigates her home and family life wearing her favorite black hoodie. The ad portrays an authentic representation of autistic traits such as stimming and shutdowns, but coincides with Ash’s creative talent, intellect, humor and warmth.
The film was shot by Tom Hooper, who is known for films like The King’s Speech and The Danish Girl. On the ad campaign, he said: “It was so important for me to cast an autistic girl at the center of this film, and ideally a real family. I was astonished by Ash and her family. Ash is an extraordinary actress, a unique talent who commands the camera in every frame. Going through the rushes in the edit, she was incapable of being false or untruthful. The fact that she’s never acted before and has never been in front of a camera (apart from a school play!) is mindblowing.
“As a culture, we’ve been going on an important journey about representation and identity. Ash’s brilliance shows the talent that you can unleash by allowing people to tell their own story.”
The brief for this year’s Diversity In Advertising Award, which offers advertisers and agencies the opportunity to win £1m worth of commercial airtime on Channel 4, encouraged brands to tackle the lack of authentic portrayal and representation of visible or non-visible disabilities. Vanish and Havas London were named as the recipients last year.
Elliot Harris, Reckitt global executive creative director and creative partner at Havas London, said: “Working closely with teams across Reckitt and Ambitious about Autism, we identified a universal truth among the autistic community: that clothes can be a lifeline; a source of comfort to help navigate a world not built for them. For Vanish, this represents a clear, credible role for the product and a natural synergy with its purpose: keeping these clothes the same, wash after wash, really matters.
“We set out to shatter the misconception that autism primarily impacts boys – balancing positive portrayals of autistic girls’ talents with honest, authentic insights into their struggles. This campaign – which includes a commitment by Reckitt to becoming more inclusive in their approach to neurodiversity – platforms autistic female voices across every touchpoint and will broaden public understanding and, ultimately, help an underrepresented community feel seen, heard and supported.”
The campaign launches ahead of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and will coincide with an exhibition at London’s gallery@oxo that will feature powerful stories of 12 young autistic girls and their must-have clothing items that help make their world more comfortable.
Verica Djurdjevic, chief revenue officer at Channel 4, added: “Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award is not only a prestigious accolade in the advertising world, but it also plays an important role in helping us to achieve our ambition to improve authentic representation, diversity and inclusion in British TV advertising. Vanish and Havas London’s powerful film does just that in such an honest and moving way, and we’re incredibly proud to host this important campaign on Channel 4.”