The world famous Piccadilly Lights digital billboard will be turned upside down by Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), in association with The&Partnership in a multi-channel campaign to raise awareness of the challenges social distancing poses to blind and partially sighted people.
The campaign asks people and brands to turn their social profiles upside-down to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with sight loss whose world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. In particular it highlights how social distancing has changed the way we navigate our public spaces. The message is particularly timely as we attempt to navigate our way through new and unfamiliar surroundings after restrictions were eased just two days ago.
Social distancing has made it nearly impossible for blind and partially sighted people to navigate safely in a world with largely inaccessible new rules and regulations. Rising numbers of people on the streets, in workplaces and on public transport make this even more difficult. For the sight loss community, the usual methods of navigating around public spaces rely on human contact, guidance and touch, all of which are no longer considered safe.
As the rules continue to relax and more businesses open up, life gets easier for most of us. But for the blind and partially sighted community, they are faced with even more barriers when navigating the ‘new normal’.
To show how the world has been turned upside down for them, RNIB and The&Partnership have partnered with brands including Amazon Alexa, Barclays, Very.com, Kelloggs, P&G, TalkTalk, The Financial Times, British Gas and LEGO to show a range of adverts that appear upside down, before revealing a hard-hitting message about the way blind and partially sighted people have experienced the world during this time.
The arresting stunt aims to draw attention from sighted people who may not have considered the challenges of social distancing on those with sight loss, and encourage them to think, be kind, and offer help when needed. The campaign is being amplified across social channels through the hashtag #WorldUpsideDown and people are being asked to turn their social media profile pictures upside down in support.
Martin Wingfield, Head of Brand & Marketing at RNIB, said:
“The easing of lockdown means we now face a more complicated and unusual world, which will take some time for everyone to get used to. We know it’s difficult for everyone, but for those with sight loss everything has become much more challenging. We’re asking everyone to remember what they are going through and to act kindly. We’re really pleased to communicate this through such a clear, striking billboard and campaign that will help lots of people see, engage with and remember such an important message, and for the message to go even further with the support of our partner brands and the public”
Created by The&Partnership’s in-house studio, in collaboration with partner brands and Ocean Outdoor, the advert recreates the traditional patchwork effect so famous on the Piccadilly billboard before revealing its important message for the second half. This takeover will happen every hour at 50 minutes past the hour from 7am-11pm starting on the 6th July for one week.
Yan Elliott, Executive Creative Director at The&Partnership London, said: “We wanted to recreate the disorientation and uncertainty being felt by blind and partially sighted people during this complicated time. What better way than by subverting expectations of one of the world’s most recognisable spaces? Thankfully RNIB has a host of brilliant brand partners who could help us make it happen, and by ensuring the campaign grows beyond the billboard, we ensured the message can reach into people’s homes.
We’ve been adapting our creative thinking as the situation has unfolded to make sure this was as relevant and timely as possible, and as lockdown eases, this message only becomes more important.”
The Piccadilly Lights billboard will be the first in a range of activations, alongside partners, that raise awareness of the way the world has turned upside down, severely affecting those with sight loss.