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Nordstrom Ads Feature Models with Disabilities, Generate Goodwill

Image via press.nordstrom.com

Fact: At least one-third of Nordstrom’s advertisements feature models of color and/or models with disabilities.

For Nordstrom, this isn’t just a commitment to diversity—it’s a commitment to accurately reflecting its shoppers. It’s also a smart move.

According to Meg O’Connell, a partner at the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion, people with disabilities represent a significant marketing opportunity, with $225 billion in discretionary spending.

“Companies that understand this will have an advantage,” she says. “[Nordstrom] is a leader in this space and has been a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores.”

The company has been using models with disabilities since 1997 and regularly advertises in minority publications including Essence, Latina, and Ability magazines.

Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow said using the models is “really about reflecting the customers and communities we serve. We serve diverse customers and it’s an opportunity for them to see themselves when they’re looking through the book or online. … We don’t promote it or go out and talk about it. We just think they look great.”

So what’s the result? It’s hard to quantify, but Nordstrom’s Direct Marketing Manager Amy Jones reports to Disability-Marketing.com that they “have received positive feedback from customers who tell us they appreciate our efforts to make sure our promotional materials reflect the diversity of the customers we serve.”

What’s more, it seems like other companies are following suit. Per O’Connell in The Associated Press, H&M and Diesel have also recently featured models with disabilities, while Swiffer recently featured an amputee actor and a Duracell ad used a deaf football player.

Image via press.nordstrom.com

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