A coalition of big Aussie brands work together to create the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’, launching the Shift 20 Initiative via Special, Glue Society + PHD

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Last night, during the Sunday Project, in an iconic and unignorable moment for Australian advertising, 10 of Australia’s most well known brands came together in support of disability representation with the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’. Swapping out key scenes in their advertising to include a person with disability to launch the Shift 20 Initiative. This initiative was conceived by Special and the Dylan Alcott Foundation over two years ago.


The altered spots from ANZ, AAMI, Bonds, Kia, McDonald’s, Oral-B, nib, Pantene, Uber and Weet-Bix ran in the lead up to Sunday and culminated in a complete media roadblock during the prime time Sunday Project. A moment designed to make Australia take notice of the lack of disability representation in our advertising and launch an initiative designed to combat it, the Shift 20 Initiative. In addition to the brands who have altered spots, Tourism Australia, Virgin Australia and TikTok have also come onboard as foundation partners.

The Shift 20 Initiative is a coalition of leading brands, led by the Dylan Alcott Foundation, which is focused on increasing disability representation, inclusion and accessibility in Australian advertising and media. Australians with disability make up almost 20% of the population. Yet in advertising, they are only represented 1% of the time.

Says Ryan Fitzgerald, executive creative director at Special: “When we first started talking to Dylan about the issue, we knew this couldn’t simply be an awareness job. We needed to do something bold that made a statement, and more importantly, created real change with a long-lasting impact.

“Changing out something that has already been and including a person with disability is a simple yet powerful way to highlight that people with disability can easily fill the same roles as anyone else.

“Whether it’s changing the iconic face of a brand, brand representatives or simply the characters in the stories we tell, our industry is in a powerful position to send a message to 20% of Australia that, up until now, has gone largely unseen to say ‘we see you’.

“Outside of the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’ the Shift 20 Initiative is a crucial part of ensuring long lasting change in this space. The organisation is designed to set the standard for what disability representation looks like and give others the tools and resources to make an impact.”

A coalition of big Aussie brands work together to create the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’, launching the Shift 20 Initiative via Special, Glue Society + PHD

The majority of the production re-shoots was led by Revolver, featuring both talent and crew with disability. There was also essential oversight from a variety of disability consultants and production partners such as Bus Stop Films to ensure the production environment was inclusive. This included consultancy on the casting process, production considerations for people with disability, disability riders, crew attachments and Auslan translators.

The Glue Society was a key creative partner in the early development of this campaign. Working closely with Special from the initial agency brief, the team formed a clever and restrained production approach that would allow brands incorporating talent with disability to have maximum effect, ensuring the work prompted focus and discussion on the issue.

Rumble Studios, working across a number of the revised TVCs, as well as the supplementary behind the scenes films, brought to life with their thoughtful music, composed by Guy Brown.

A coalition of big Aussie brands work together to create the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’, launching the Shift 20 Initiative via Special, Glue Society + PHD

Says Lindsey Evans, partner at Special and board director at Advertising Council Australia: “The support from the industry has been instrumental to launching this initiative. This is about sharing and educating the wider industry as to the massive commercial and cultural opportunity of having representation of the whole population. We hope more brands see this and want to get involved. We have learnt so much from Dylan, the talent and production partners. We can all do better together – as an industry, as consumers and as brands.”

PHD worked with all of the participating brand’s media agencies to coordinate the roadblock in the Sunday Project as well as securing further paid and earned media support for the initiative from media owners across Australia.

Says Simon Lawson, managing director at PHD Melbourne: “The widespread support from the media owners across Australia has been incredible, quite simply, we’ve never seen collaboration at this scale, leading to a world-first media approach. It really underscores the importance of this issue. It’s been a privilege to be involved in this initiative on behalf of PHD and OMG.”

A coalition of big Aussie brands work together to create the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’, launching the Shift 20 Initiative via Special, Glue Society + PHD

The coalition of launch partners will lead the way in commitment to fair representation of people with disability within their ads and marketing communications, providing opportunities and opening doors for people with disability. Each brand has their own unique way of showing up in the space from product development, influencer strategies, accessibility innovations, community support and employment with further innovations to come off the back of the initiative.

Says Dylan Alcott AO, founder of the Dylan Alcott Foundation: “One of the coolest things about working with the amazing brands who have joined the initiative is seeing them learn and grow from listening to the lived experience of people with disability. From previous conversations we’ve had with brands, we know that whilst they want to include people with disability in their ads, they are sometimes scared they’ll get it wrong – so they don’t. Getting it wrong is ok. It starts conversations, so you can get it right and can be more inclusive and accessible for everyone – including people with disability. The tides are turning and the time for brands to get involved is now.”

A coalition of big Aussie brands work together to create the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’, launching the Shift 20 Initiative via Special, Glue Society + PHD A coalition of big Aussie brands work together to create the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’, launching the Shift 20 Initiative via Special, Glue Society + PHD

A dedicated website has been built to give brands access to best practice resources to create more accessible and inclusive communications. Brands can sign-up and find out more about the Shift 20 Initiative at shift20.org and be part of the change.

The campaign is rolling out across TV, OOH, cinema, earned media, social and digital and has even driven product innovation ensuring that all assets created have been built to be truly accessible.

Client: Dylan Alcott Foundation
Founder: Dylan Alcott OAM
General Manager: Georgie Saggers
Board Chair: Martin Alcott

Tourism Australia
Virgin Australia

Agency: Special Australia
Partner/CEO: Lindsey Evans
Partners/CCO: Julian Schreiber & Tom Martin
Partner/CSO: Bec Stambanis
Executive Creative Director: Ryan Fitzgerald
Creative Director/Creative: Adam Ferrie
Creative Director/Creative: Peter Cvetkovski
Copywriter: Shaun McFarlane
Art Director: Bella Plush
Managing Director, Melbourne: Sarah Raine
Managing Director, Special PR: Alex Bryant
Senior Business Director: Felicity Touzeau
Business Director: Priya Addams Williams
Business Director: Nick Darrigan
Creative Strategist: Kate Wilkinson
Head of Film & Content Production (Syd): Sevda Cemo
Head of Film & Content Production (Melb): Sophie Simmons
Lead Producer: Charlotte Wren
Head of Stills Production: Nick Lilley
Director, Digital: James Simmons
Digital Producer: Gigi Song
Head Of Design: Adam Shear
Designer: Sarah Ristevski
Designer: Maggie Webster
Finished Art: John Rivera
Comms Strategy Director: Georgia Thomas

Production Company: Revolver
Directing Collective: The Glue Society
Director: Alice Cogin
Managing Director/Co-Owner: Michael Ritchie
Executive Producer/ Partner: Pip Smart
Executive Producer: Jasmin Helliar
Producer: Max Horn
Cinematographer: Dale Bremner

Rae Pastuszak – nib
Nathan Borg – Bonds
Sara Shams – ANZ
Mia Adams – McDonald’s
Basketball NSW – Kia
Eva Kalpidis – Weet-Bix
Adam Bowes – Uber
Lara Nakhle – AAMI

Production Company: Revolver
Directing Collective: The Glue Society
Directors: Alice Cogin, Pete Baker & Jonathan Kneebone
DOP: Will Robertson & Matt Maule
Post Production: The Glue Society Studios
Editor: Luke Crethar
Colourist: Scott Stirling

Consultancy: Bus Stop Films
CEO: Tracey Corbin-Matchett OAM
COO: Dianna La Grassa
General Manager Bus Stop Employment:  Sarah-Jane Johnson

Director’s Assistant: Nathan Tsui
Lighting: Jack Small
BTS Attachment: Juddy Dodd
Directors Attachment: Conor Brannerly
HMU Attachment: Emily Skerri-Rickert
Deaf Consultant: Sue Jo Wright
Auslan Support Services: Sign Hear
Interpreter: Will Tapp
Interpreter: Samantha Rutherford
Interpreter: Joshua Ophel

Photographer: Josh Robenstone
Producer: The ARTL-NE / Amy Henderson
Digital Assistant: Alexander Cooke
Retouching: Visual Thing

Post House: HECKLER
Editor: Andrew Holmes
Post Producer: Coralie Tapper
Colourist: Matt Fezz
Flame Operator: Julian Ford
Compositor: Drew Downes and Nitin Amin

Executive Producer: Michael Gie
Producer: Siena Mascheretti
Sound Engineers: Tone Aston & Cam Milne

Composer: Guy Brown

Brand BTS
Post House: MANIMAL

Casting Director: Natalie Jane Harvie, Citizen Jane Casting (Bonds, ANZ, Uber)

PHD Australia
Managing Director: Simon Lawson
Business Director: Joey Graham
Account Executive: Ben Williams
SEO: James Hanley
Programmatic: Jethro Pacquing & Riana Adams

Omnicom Media Group
Chief Executive Officer: Peter Horgan

Research & Insights

Special Group would like to acknowledge the support of Ogilvy, DDB, Dentsu, Elastic Group, Innocean for their role and collaboration in the creation of some of the brand assets for this initiative.

The launch of Shift 20 Initiative has been an exceptional, cross-industry effort. To everyone involved (including those who we may have missed) – thank you! It would not have been possible without you. We look forward to ongoing partnership as we continue to advance disability inclusion in Australia.