Cerebral Palsy Foundation is launching a landmark campaign “Awkward Moments”, in order to bring awareness through humor to the awkwardness that surrounds those with disabilities. The social media campaign explores a level of honesty that is portrayed through animation. Created by Jason Benetti (the voice of the Chicago White Sox), Richard Ellenson (CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation) and Adam Quinn, the videos identify issues faced by those with disabilities – and is the first campaign to assign them actual names (such as “The Disability Slow-Mo” or the “Disability Look-Away”). The animated series will launch on Global Accessibility Awareness day, May 17.
“Awkward Moments” was conceived after Jason Benetti, who has Cerebral Palsy, participated in one of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation’s highly-regarded “Just Say Hi” campaign. Together, Mr. Benetti and Mr. Ellenson, who is a former advertising creative director, decided they wanted do something that was uniquely suited to Jason’s abilities as a sportscaster. Benetti explains, “There are moments and conversations in our society where people rely on accidental snap judgements or speak without forethought or understanding. That’s ok. We all do it, and sometimes it is even funny. But, if unaddressed, we don’t know how to move past them. So the goal of the campaign is to illuminate these moments when we might be on mental autopilot, and – by using humor – show people that they are having misperception about people – and learn to think differently.”
Richard Ellenson, CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, has been a leading voice in the world of disabilities for over two decades. Through his work with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Ellenson has made major waves with other shorts that have received over 70 million views. The shorts include one of the disability world’s most watched videos: “Zach Anner & The Quest for Rainbow Bagel”. “There are certainly many tough medical issues in the world of disabilities,” said Mr. Ellenson. “But perhaps the biggest issue faced is that we have the wrong narrative. Until we acknowledge that others have awkward first moments, and incorrect perceptions, we are stuck in the wrong narrative: that people with disabilities are defined by their differences. It’s critical to acknowledge that, address it, and begin a new narrative. And who better to share that than Jason – whose voice has remarkable authority – but can also deliver pitch-perfect irony Prior to Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Richard was a successful advertising executive (who penned the line “It’s Not TV, It’s HBO.)
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