Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and The&Partnership have launched ‘See the Person’.
The work challenges outdated public attitudes and misperceptions of sight loss to break down barriers.
The number one barrier faced by blind and partially sighted people in the UK is public misperceptions, the leading insight that inspired the campaign. Delivered with authentic storytelling and a through-the-line campaign strategy, ‘See the Person’ elevates the issue of sight loss within the public consciousness, setting out to change attitudes and behaviours towards blind and partially sighted people.
At the heart of the campaign sits an emotive and thought-provoking film, directed by BAFTA-nominated Jesse Lewis-Reece at You Are Here. The film tells the story of Ava, a fictional teenage girl who must come to terms with losing her sight. Her story is inspired by the real-life sight loss journeys of many, capturing an authentic experience of diagnosis, which often mirrors the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
We see the impact that losing her sight has on many areas of her life, from education to relationships. Most crucially, the film demonstrates how sight loss can impact mental health as well as physical health.
However, as Ava moves towards the acceptance stage, a theme of hope starts to emerge.
With the help of RNIB’s various products and services, Ava’s friends, family and educators offer their support, whilst an RNIB’s Eye Car Liaison Officer counsels her post-diagnosis. Ava starts to find her feet again, accepting her condition and regaining confidence.
In portraying the character of Ava, the lead actor, Eli London, drew upon their own personal experiences of sight loss, having had retinoblastoma in childhood, resulting in monocular vision. Jesse Lewis-Reece worked incredibly closely with London during production to fully understand the impact sight loss has had upon them, and their perspective was invaluable to the creative and film-making process.
To make the film truly accessible to a visually impaired audience, RNIB and The&Partnership, used a number of techniques when crafting the audio storytelling. These included: creating the voiceover to sufficiently tell Ava’s emotional journey, as well as creating a multi-layered soundscape that all audiences could fully immerse themselves in. Additionally, Thom Yorke’s solo version of Radiohead’s ‘Videotape’ was chosen as the music track to accompany the emotional narrative, as it delivers a message of resilience and hope.
The two-minute film is online and in cinemas, along with the 60 second film. The 60 second film will also air on TV, launched on Coronation Street, with a 30 second version running throughout the rest of the campaign period on both TV & VOD. The full three and a half minute film is available to view online also.
Martin Wingfield, director of brand at RNIB, said, “We need to explode the myths and misconceptions around sight loss which lie at the heart of many of the challenges blind and partially sighted people face – both every day and throughout their lives. So this campaign is important; it’s one of the biggest RNIB has ever run. It also has to be creative and clever as we think most people do want to make things better for people with sight loss. We are simply showing them how and in the most compelling way possible. Everyone this campaign reaches will understand that even small actions play a big part in giving blind and partially sighted people the opportunity to live the lives they want to.”
Toby Allen, executive creative director at The&Partnership, said, “At their best films are empathy machines, and we have pulled out every stop to make this campaign both deeply empathetic to convey the experience of sight loss to a sighted audience, and at the same time thoroughly accessible to the blind and partially sighted community. It’s a unique balancing act, but Jesse and his team rose to the challenge.”
To further elevate the issue of sight loss to the public, RNIB is partnering with Channel 4’s Gogglebox. During Friday’s episode on 14th October, the cast will watch the campaign film, opening up the conversation about sight loss to the whole nation.
Shorter social videos narrated by the actor Eli London will aim to change specific elements of public behaviour, including problematic first encounters such as offering help, fair employment opportunities and clearing street obstacles.
Director of Brand: Martin Wingfield
Head of Brand Engagement: Lorna Forbes
Brand Projects Lead: Susannah Kingham
Brand & Marketing Officer: Malcolm Wai
Agency: The& Partnership
CEO: Sarah Golding
ECD: Toby Allen
Creatives: Adam Jackson & Ted Price
Managing Director & Strategy Partner: Sarah Clark
Strategist: Ed Davenhill
Business Lead & Partner: Benedict Pringle
Account Director: Hannah Gray
Account Manager: Amy Brett
Head of Integrated Production: Charles Crisp
Producer: Joseph Tomlinson
Media Agency: Wavemaker UK
Production Company: You Are Here
Director: Jesse Lewis-Reece
Executive Producer: Jeremy Goold
Producer: Bill James
Director of Photography: Evangelos Polychronopoulos
Editing Production Company: The Quarry
Editors: Gary Coogan
Offline Producer: Tor Adams
Senior Post Producer: Dan Kreeger
Post Producer: Angie Broomfield
Colourist: Simone Gratturola
Audio Post-production: GCRS
Head of Production: Molly Butcher
Sound Engineers: Munzie Thind
Music Supervision: Theodore / Wake The Town
Music Contact: Arnold Hattingh
Composer: Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phillip Selway & Ed O’Brien
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