RNIB, MullenLowe and Cannes Lions announce new award celebrating alt text

RNIB - The image is the alt text for Fearless Girl displayed outside the Palais Screens in Cannes. It reads: "A huge, muscular, horned beast, all four of its legs straining and stretching, tail lashing out wildly, head dipped and menacing, threatens to run riot through downtown Manhattan. Yet tamed by the diminutive figure standing confidently just a few yards away: legs planted, hands on hips, head up, looking as bold as the brass she's shaped from - solid, unmoved, unflinching, and utterly fearless."

The Royal National Institute of Blind People and MullenLowe UK have announced a partnership with Cannes Lions to introduce a new award celebrating the use of alternative text.

Alt text involves the use of online image descriptions to enable people with impaired sight to visualise pictures.

The Craft subcategory, which will come into use next year, will run across the Audio and Radio, Film, Outdoor and Print and Publishing Lions.

To promote the change, RNIB and MullenLowe have created a campaign that will run on the screen above the red carpet at the Palais, where image descriptions will appear covering the most famous Cannes Lions winners over the years.

Simon Cook, chief executive of Cannes Lions, said:

“For 70 years the Lions have celebrated world-class craft and it’s still as vital as ever. This new category will encourage the industry to write the image descriptions that blind and partially sighted people deserve. We’re constantly looking for ways to evolve the Lions to reflect the industry as it is today but also to show what’s coming next. These categories will further support our equity, representation and accessibility goals.”

Martin Wingfield, director of brand at the RNIB, said:

“This industry is incredible and has such power to make a massive difference to blind and partially sighted people; 2.2 billion people with sight loss globally is also a huge and valuable audience that are being excluded from your work and from your brands. Please make it a first thought, not an afterthought.”

RNIB and MullenLowe launched the “Alt alts” campaign in March, which featured text descriptions of famous images.

Nicky Bullard, chief creative officer at MullenLowe UK, said:

“We’ve such a chance as an industry to make the difference to many people’s lives. Let’s help as many people as we can see, enjoy, and engage with our brilliant work, like the work we are celebrating this week. Let’s write the image descriptions blind and partially sighted people deserve.”

As reported originally in Campaign.

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