Shift 20 Initiative launches with the ‘Unignorable Adbreak’ via Special, Glue Society and PHD

By AdNews | 18 September 2023

Last night, during the Sunday Project, 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. 

The altered spots from ANZ, AAMI, Bonds, Kia, McDonalds, 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 advertising and launch an initiative designed to combat it.

On top of the brands who have altered spots, Tourism Australia, Virgin Australia and TikTok have also come on board as foundation partners.

The Shift 20 Initiative is a coalition of 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.

This initiative was conceived by Special and the Dylan Alcott Foundation over two years ago.

Ryan Fitzgerald, ECD at Special, said when the agency first started talking to Alcott about the issue, they 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," he said.

“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.”


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 also a key creative partner in the early development of this campaign. Working closely with Special from the initial agency brief, the team formed a 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 the content to life with their music, composed by Guy Brown.  


Lindsey Evans, partner at Special and board director at Advertising Council Australia, said 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," said Evans.

"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. 

Simon Lawson, MD at PHD Melbourne, said 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," he said.

"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.”


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.

Dylan Alcott, founder of the Dylan Alcott Foundation, said one of the coolest things about working with the 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," said Alcott.

"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 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 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

Partner/CSO: Dave Hartmann

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


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