Ad review: Maltesers’ chocolate braille billboard

Maltesers have teamed up with disability charity, Scope for their latest ad to raise awareness of access issues, with a chocolate braille billboard as part of their “look on the light side” campaign.

Courtesy of the creative team at AMV BBDO, the poster features machine-made Malteser replicas to create the braille “cells” that the visually impaired use to read printed text.

The posters are accompanied by an audio description which directs people to a text translation on the Maltesers Facebook page.

The ad was created in consultation with Braille users and runs with the slogan, “Caught a really fast bus once, turns out it was a fire engine.” The slogan is based on a real-life story from a blind woman who participated in a focus group which underpinned the campaign.

The poster was unveiled in conjunction with World Braille Day.

Here are some reasons we think this was such an effective outdoor campaign:

  • It linked Maltesers’ commercial aims to a worthy cause, lending extra social cache to the brand.
  • It made use of charity consultations to engage the disabled community, and avoid the pitfalls of a corporate brand tackling a politically-sensitive issue.
  • It combined Outdoor with Online and social media by driving audiences to Facebook in an organic way. Rather than just saying “find us on Facebook”, there was actually a concrete reason for audiences to look up the brand’s social media profile; so sighted people could read the message. This also had the added bonus of gently helping the sighted relate to some of the issues lack of access can bring.
  • The slogan had contextual relevance to the ad site. The messaging related to a blind person’s experience of catching a bus, thereby putting an incredible spin on what for millions is a mundane, everyday experience. By changing the way commuters relate to the everyday, the experience of catching a bus was made more memorable; an experience that was strongly associated with the Maltesers’ brand.
  • The campaign was timed to coincide with a moment when there would be maximum exposure to their messaging… on an international awareness day.
  • The 3D design literally made the poster stand out from the crowd, a great way to make an impact in a heavily saturated advertising environment.
  • Despite tackling serious subject matter, the campaign didn’t seem out of place for a light-hearted chocolate brand. That’s because they found a light way to tackle a serious issue, but that was executed so as to in no way trivialise the cause. Not an easy thing to do, but this campaign feels just so effortlessly on-message.

Diversity in advertising

Much has been written about the need for more diversity and inclusivity in advertising. Maleters’ campaign certainly stands as a model for others to emulate.

Firstly, they chose an area relating to access issues within disability. Then they formed a focus group to engage with the disabled community. Finally, the campaign was executed in a creative and innovative way, making ingenious use of the physicality of the Outdoor medium.

The interesting thing is, that in being more inclusive, the end result was a marketing strategist’s dream: an interesting, creative and engaging campaign that makes a big, positive, and, crucially, impression on audiences in a pleasingly pro-social way.