Google goes All In on inclusive marketing in Cannes; mandatory accessibility practices for marketers

Last week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Google launched a playbook for designing accessible marketing, expanding its toolkit, All In.

Google was also the festival’s first official accessibility partner, with Cannes Lions, American Association of Ad Agencies, and Ad Council all endorsing the playbook which was created in partnership with LaVant consulting and Disability:IN.

In a blog post last week, global CMO at Google, Lorraine Twohill highlighted Google’s ‘A Coda Story’ campaign, featuring Google coder Tony Lee, and his family, to illustrate how powerful inclusive marketing can be.

Google featured a session at Cannes Lions last week focusing on inclusive marketing, entitled ‘Build for Belonging: Accessibility Marketing in Action’, featuring group creative director at Google, and the creator of the campaign, KK Walker, alongside Tony Lee, the subject.

Walker and Lee at Google’s inclusivity event

The campaign the pair discussed the importance of telling real stories, listening to and adapting to feedback, and the continued difficult decisions that need to be made in appropriately representing all voices in marketing output.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Walker said it is now mandatory for all Google marketers, and all of its agencies to “completely read and practice” the guidelines, as well as now having in place checkpoints for its work to ensure it is casting and scripting in the correct way.

“All of these things are now not an option,” Walker continued. “Yes, there’s going to be a tough little learning curve until people figure it out and know how to do it, but it’s already started because we’ve been doing it internally so much.”

KK Walker in Cannes

“The one thing we want to prove is how much more effective it is, and how much it actually makes business sense to do this type of thing. You’re going to reach more people, and we found that with CODA.”

Walker said the hope is that these practices “become muscle memory at some point”, and while there is no disability continues to change, the hope is that Google can continue to maintain and stay ahead of the challenges with its practices.

Twohill’s blog post added that Google wants “to give marketers, advertisers, and all creatives the tools they need to make work that both resonates with people with disabilities and accurately represents the disabled community.”

The playbook follows “years of research and collaboration, and an ongoing process to identify and provide guidance on a range of actions to improve accessibility, from building more accessible web experiences to seeking opportunities to authentically portray people with disabilities”.

Twohill said the next step will be to expand All In globally, as well as rolling out audience insights in more countries this year, and partnering with brands across a number of industries to invest in inclusive marketing initiatives across the globe and share our collective learnings with the broader creative field.


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