Inspiring Back-to-School Ads Created by a Mom Challenge Stereotypes in Advertising


As back-to-school season approaches, Katie Driscoll, a photographer and mom of six, was fed up with advertisements for backpacks, notebooks and lunchboxes that didn't feature all types of kids. So she decided to do something about it.

Driscoll created her own ads featuring minority children and kids with disabilities. She put out a casting call, reached out to children's clothing lines and put together a photo shoot. The result, which went up on her blog on Aug. 7, is a beautiful array of images that encourage all children to start the new school year by being their amazing selves.

Image Credits (all): Katie Driscoll

"I noticed that conscious decisions were made to include boys and girl and minorities, but I wondered why kids with disabilities weren't included, especially with school ads, because all kids go to school," Driscoll told ABC News.

A mother's passion: As a mother of five boys and a daughter with Down Syndrome, the project was especially close to Driscoll's heart. But besides having a personal motivation, the Illinois-based mom is no stranger to media advocacy.

She writes her own blog about her family, called "5 boys and 1 girl makes 6." She also co-founded and runs the "Changing the Face of Beauty" campaign, which incorporates people with disabilities into advertising.

Demoralizing advertising trends: Many advertisements tend to distort a certain type of person or depict one person who is not symbolic of the general population.

But recently, there has been a shift in branded campaigns, like when Honey Maid diversified their ads by using three real-life modern day families or when Cheerios celebrated a mixed-race family.

Driscoll's photoshoot reminds us that not all ads are created equal, but also that people are capable of converting misguided media into something beautiful. Here's hoping her work leads to an onslaught of similarly inspired and diversified images in the media. 

h/t: ABC News