September 28, 2016 - Comments Off on Stories in sign

Stories in sign

Inclusive is a word we use a lot in advertising, we want to make sure what we’re creating reaches and resonates with as many people as possible. But even in 2016, certain communities are overlooked and poorly represented. One of these is the deaf community.

Mars recently made the very first sign language-only TV advert, aired during the break of the Rio Paralympic Games on Channel 4. The 30-second Malteasers ad was originally aired completely in sign language, then aired again later in the evening with subtitles revealing the joke shared by two women. It’s a reminder of the barriers faced by the hearing impaired and a celebration of diversity. Just in case you missed it, here it is again:

This advert represented real progress in the representation of the deaf community, but is it enough? And what else is being done?

Each month we host a Discovery Collective that gives us a fresh perspective, keeps us moving forward and inspires us to think differently. In the latest of these events, we had journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne pay us a visit to talk about his work and experiences. Charlie’s work gives deaf culture a platform through his short films and blog ‘The Limping Chicken’, which posts a blog by a deaf person every weekday.

He gave us a unique opportunity to see not just advertising, but society as a whole through the deaf community’s eyes. Seeing his work was not only inspiring, but funny and in parts quite touching. It really got you thinking that with more education and inclusion in mainstream media, the deaf and hearing world perhaps wouldn’t feel so far apart. Which in turn would help to reduce the amount of isolation felt by people and address common misconceptions. You can watch Charlie’s short films online at:

I’m sure the whole Bloom team would like to say a big thank you to Charlie for coming in to chat with us and answering all the questions we had. Make sure you take a look at his new documentary ‘Found in the UK’ here:, which provides a rare window into the life and struggles of deaf people here in the UK.