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Hiki and Getty Images join forces to reshape stereotypes on autistic community in media

Hiki and Getty Images join forces to reshape stereotypes on autistic community in media

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Hiki, a friendship and dating app for the autistic community, has joined hands with Getty Images to launch #AustisticOutLoud, a custom content initiative to increase authentic representation of autistic people through the lens of the community.

This comes as the autistic community is often infantilised or stereotyped as savants with a voice that typically centres the experience of white males, according to Jamil Karriem, founder and CEO, Hiki. "At Hiki, our mission is to connect all people across the autistic community, and give them a place where their identities and lived experiences can be honoured and validated. A crucial part of that is for the autistic community to be seen for all of their tremendous differences and nuances as unique individuals,” he added.

Featuring content creators and photographers who identify as autistic, the #AutisticOutLoud campaign comprises a curated gallery of images and videos that show the diversity and resilience of the community. The creators will also become part of Getty Images’ global contributor network.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Getty Images' spokesperson said #AutisticOutLoud features content created by autistic photographers and videographers, aiming to provide a more accurate and nuanced portrayal of the autistic community. "Involving autistic content creators broadens perspectives and brings their unique viewpoints and lived experiences to the forefront. By amplifying these voices, the campaign encourages a shift in narrative surrounding autism and promotes a more inclusive and diverse representation of neurodivergent individuals, moving away from limited and monolithic portrayals towards a more multifaceted understanding of the community," the spokesperson added. 

Furthermore, the initiative has the power to influence industry practices by serving as an example for the broader advertising and marketing community. It showcases the importance of collaborating directly with underrepresented communities to ensure they are accurately represented. This approach can inspire industry-wide conversations and encourage other brands, agencies, and content creators to adopt more inclusive practices.

By leveraging Getty Images' extensive reach and distribution channels, the campaign's content will be accessible to media platforms and publishers globally, allowing for broad exposure and potential impact across various markets, including those in APAC.

Speaking of the agencies behind the partnership, Hiki is working with a cross-agency WPP team, led by global media agency network Mindshare, who has led the partnership with Getty Images. The WPP team also includes agencies VMLY&R and Set Creative working on creative branding, strategy, amongst others.

Getty Images and Mindshare are also working to bring the content from #AutisticOutLoud to supportive partners and publishers including the Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women, amongst others.

Building on the work Getty Images has undertaken to accurately represent the disability community at large, content created as part of this initiative will live on Getty Images’ Disability Collectionand Unsplash, and will be available for commercial use by media platforms and publishers worldwide to help drive awareness in the industry. At launch, 10 autistic Getty Images’ Custom Content photographers and videographers will create content as part of the brief.

Meanwhile, Rachel Lowenstein, one of the autistic content creators featured in this campaign and a lead on this project as global head of inclusive innovation, Mindshare, said, “Working in media and as someone who is autistic, I was tired of seeing the regressive, disempowering images of autistic folks in mass media that are at odds with the community I know – one that is highly expansive and creative." She is also proud of this project as an opportunity for the industry to reshape media to be more representative to a community that has long been spoken over and for.

We’re excited to be a part of this initiative and bring in new perspectives from talented creators who very much represent the diversity of the autistic community,” said Rebecca Swift, global head of creative insights at Getty Images. “This content is another step in our ongoing work of visualising disability and our aim is to emphasise to content creators, brands and agencies the true nature of our global community."

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