Pity. It's 100% curable.
I'm posting this example of excellent advertising as a response to a comment on Autism Vox by Marie S., who asked what a positive campaign seeking to raise awareness of services for children with disabilities might look like. Marie was responding to Kristina Chew's discussion of a New York Times article discussing the Ransom Notes controversy. The article discusses the widespread outrage and public condemnation of the stereotypes and stigma perpetuated by the Ransom Notes ads, and it mentions the work of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network in coordinating a response. Kristina Chew is quoted in the article on the importance of finding a more positive way to frame autism and other conditions.
The reporter also interviewed Dr. Harold Koplewicz of the NYU Child Study Center, who stated that he was surprised by the opposition to the Ransom Notes ad campaign. He seemed to be particularly taken aback by the extent of the criticism from autistic self-advocates and parents of autistic children. The article describes his reaction as follows:
Dr. Koplewicz said he had not considered jettisoning the campaign, but there was some discussion about dropping its two most controversial components: the autism and Asperger’s ads.
He decided to retain the ads after conferring with colleagues whose attitude, he said, "was that some people would be upset but that we should stick with it and ride out the storm."
Nice try, Dr. Koplewicz, but the storm is only going to get stronger. We're not going to shut up, we're not going to go away, and we wouldn't be satisfied even if you did drop the autism and Asperger's ads. Playing the divide and conquer game won't get you anywhere this time. We fully intend to keep on raising hell until every last one of those disgusting Ransom Notes is taken down, NYU makes a sincere apology, and disability rights groups are invited to play a meaningful role in designing a replacement ad campaign that promotes understanding and respect.