RNIB dispels myths surrounding sight loss
Created by The&Partnership, the 'Before You Ask' campaign is part of a wider ‘See The Person, Not the Sight Loss’ initiative
30 October 2023
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and The&Partnership have launched a new campaign ‘Before You Ask’. The work is part of a wider ‘See The Person, Not the Sight Loss’ initiative, which challenges outdated public attitudes and misconceptions of sight loss to break down social barriers.
At the heart of the campaign sits a series of short films, directed by Chris Balmond at Outsider. The films aim to banish myths around what it is like to live with sight loss. Viewers are invited to see blind and partially sighted people in everyday relatable experiences: they report to annoying bosses, support rubbish football teams, hate public transport, have attractive partners, and hate the school parents’ group chats.
In each scenario the protagonists pre-empt the (often awkward) questions the public have about sight loss, breaking the fourth wall and answering them before you can even ask.
The main actors in each of the six short films all have sight loss and were keen to use their own experiences to inform their performances.
Grace, one of the actors who starred in the short film, said: “Campaigns like this are really needed as blind people, like me, get these types of questions all the time. The day before my audition, a taxi driver spent the entire journey asking me how many boyfriends I’d had and how difficult it must have been to get them because of my sight. After that, I was very motivated to join the campaign.
“Some sighted people may know about guide dogs and white canes, but there are a lot of day- to-day things they don’t know so much about and that’s where the negative assumptions lie. Before you ask a question, please just remember that disabled people are human beings.”
The&Partnership has also created powerful OOH and DOOH adverts featuring photography of the film cast, shot by Emily Scarlett Romain.
Ellen Renton, a visually impaired Scottish poet andperformer who has oculocutaneous albinism, wrote the 30-second radio advert, which addresses common misconceptions about sight loss.
Vivienne Francis, RNIB’s Chief Social Change Officer, said: “RNIB’s #BeforeYouAsk films use humour and familiar scenarios to make people think. They also underscore a serious point about the misconceptions people face and the barriers these lead to in terms of people living independently.
“The films challenge these misconceptions head on, showing that of course blind and partially sighted people go to work, watch football, use public transport, seek romance and navigate the tricky world of school message groups - just like sighted people do.
“These scenarios were chosen for a reason; each relates closely to the issues that blind and partially sighted people have identified as the key areas that need to change, from removing barriers to getting around easily, to levelling employment opportunities.
“We hope this campaign will go a long way to stopping both the misguided everyday questions blind and partially sighted people face but also the more deep-rooted misconceptions about the expectations, needs and wants of people with sight loss, which we know are leading to gaps in experiences compared to sighted people; these gaps need to close.”
Matt Moreland and Chris Clarke, Creative Directors at The&Partnership, added: “Do you have sex? Can you use a phone? Some of the questions visually impaired people get asked is honestly staggering. Which is what we wanted to tackle in this campaign - puncturing preconceptions with humour and showing what it’s really like to live with sight loss.”
Jane Reader, Creative at The&Partnership commented: “I am blind in one eye so this idea was based on my own personal experience of living with sight loss. I often get asked silly questions such as ‘how many fingers am I holding up’? and ‘how can you drive?’ I felt it was about time the visually impaired people got the chance to answer all these questions once and for all.”
The shorts films will be live on social and programmatic. The 60 second film will be online also. The radio will be broadcast on national stations. The OOH/DOOH will be live across the UK, with large retail sites.
Last October, RNIB launched a new campaign ‘See the Person, Not the Sight Loss’, challenging outdated public attitudes and misconceptions of sight loss. At the heart of the campaign sits an emotive and thought-provoking short film, telling the story of Ava, a fictional teenage girl who is coming to terms with losing her sight.
Director of Brand: Martin Wingfield
Head of Brand Engagement: Lorna Forbes Special Projects Lead: Susannah Scott Brand & Marketing Officer: Malcolm Wai Brand Manager: Joel Papavloulous
Agency: The &Partnership
CEO: Sarah Golding
ECD: Toby Allen
Creative Directors: Chris Clarke & Matthew Moreland Creatives: Jane Reader & Hayley Hammond Managing Director & Strategy Partner: Sarah Clark Strategy Director: Matt Linnett
Business Lead & Partner: Benedict Pringle Senior Account Director: Hannah Gray SeniorAccount Manager: Amy Brett
Head of Integrated Production: Charles Crisp Producer: Felicity Bamber
Production Assistant: Luc MacMahon Art Buyer: Ellen Green
Heard of Design: Dan Howarth Design: Jana Fontoura
Devon McGowan-Wachs Gil Peres
Media Agency: Wavemaker UK
Production Company: Outsider Director: Chris Balmond
MD: Richard Packer
Producer: Zeno Campbell-Salmon Director of Photography: Will Bex
Editors: Suzy Kearney @Final Cut
Post Production: ETC
Executive Producer: Vic Lovejoy
Post Producer: Sydney Levy Colorist: Luke Morrison
Audio Post Production: GCRS Senior Producer: Kelly Noble Sound Engineers: Munzie Thind
Photographer: Emily Scarlett Romain Agent: At Collective
Head of production: Kay Edwards Retoucher: Touch