Diageo celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities with two new global campaigns

1 Dec 2023 | Press release

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  • New campaigns from J&B and Smirnoff put the spotlight on greater accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities
  • Partnerships with industry and disability experts in the UK and Spain aim to make socialising more accessible through training and education
  • Diageo believes that its brands have a critical role to play in shaping a more tolerant and inclusive society
  • Watch J&B’s ‘Mi Gran Noche’ (Spanish), 'Mi Gran Noche' (English) and Smirnoff’s ‘Atomic’


As the world prepares to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities this Sunday, 3 December, new campaigns from two of Diageo’s brands, J&B and Smirnoff, have launched this week and aim to make socialising more accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities.

Following on from the groundbreaking ‘She’ digital campaign in 2022 that championed trans inclusion, J&B has launched its latest powerful digital campaign in Spain, named 'Mi Gran Noche' (My Big Night), aimed at shedding light on the barriers encountered by people with disabilities when it comes to socialising, as part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to ensuring no-one is excluded.

In Spain, 4.3 million people live with a disability, equating to 20.5% of Spanish households. However, 91% of this community said they encounter physical or mental barriers when attempting to access cultural and leisure activities.

Úrsula Mejía-Melgar, Diageo's Marketing Director for Southern Europe says of the new campaign, "Access to nightlife is not merely a pleasure but a fundamental aspect for everyone, regardless of their condition. In Spain, 4.3 million people live with a disability, constituting 20.5% of Spanish households. Diversity and inclusion is ingrained in our DNA, and as a brand, our fervent desire is that no one is left out of the celebration."

That’s why in addition to the digital campaign, J&B also initiated a study to gather insights into the nightlife habits of individuals with disabilities and then embarked on several long-term initiatives that will help support people with disabilities and enable them to celebrate more often without barriers.

Although the lack of accessible venues is the main barrier highlighted by both disabled and non-disabled people, social barriers, such as the lack of empathy on the part of society, follows closely behind.

To help address these long-standing barriers, J&B has also launched two incredible partnerships:

Training for the On-trade: In collaboration with La ONCE and ILUNION, a leader in transformation and diversity with over 30 years of experience, J&B has launched an Accessibility Guide and an Online Training Program. These resources will be designed to build capabilities and train bar owners and professional shoppers, enabling them to cater to the needs of individuals with disabilities. Through the Diageo Bar Academy, this guide will be shared with 6,000 bar owners in Spain.

Enhancing information Accessibility: Through a partnership with Google, J&B is also working to enhance the accessibility of information for on-trade venues by encouraging HORECA clients to complete the Accessibility data in their Google Business profiles. J&B will also mobilise a J&B Squad comprised of Local Disabled Guides, a passionate group of nightlife enthusiasts with disabilities. Their mission will be to uncover new accessible venues and share their insights through reviews on Google.

In the UK, Smirnoff has also launched the next phase of its We Do We global brand platform, first launched in June and all about championing the power of the collective.

Building on the belief that ‘we’re better together’, and the world is brighter, richer, and more interesting when everyone is welcome, this week in London Smirnoff announced its plans to lifting social barriers through a new long-term partnership with Sinead Burke’s accessibility and inclusion consultancy, Tilting the Lens, and Stonegate, the UK’s largest pub operator to make socialising more accessible.

Spearheaded by an event curated by legendary nightlife performers, Sink The Pink, the London launch took place on Wednesday 29 November, and was hosted by disability advocate and comedian, Fats Timbo and actor/singer Layton Williams. The night also saw Drag Syndrome, a collective of fabulous Kings and Queens with downs syndrome take to the stage.

The venue was transformed to showcase ways in which barriers found in the built environment of our social venues can be addressed. This included features such as a low-counter accessible bar, accessible viewing platforms, drinks menus in braille, noise cancelling headphones for those with sensory requirements that include sound sensitivity, a quiet room, BSL interpreters, performer SUBPACs (a tactile audio platform) and visual interpreting tools.

The brand’s new long-term partnership with Stonegate and Tilting The Lens will drive positive change for the disabled community over the coming months by reviewing the settings in which people drink, the way Smirnoff products are designed and how they are marketed in order to create a blueprint for change. 

Stephanie Jacoby, Smirnoff Global Brand Director, says of the new partnerships, “At Smirnoff, we fundamentally believe that we’re better when we’re together, which is why these partnerships feel so important and relevant for today. By reinforcing social connections and doubling down on our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusivity, we aim to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to come together.”

The partnerships are underpinned by a new global creative, ‘Atomic’, which brings this inclusive ethos to life through a playful "life is like a cocktail" metaphor. Embodying the spirit of togetherness, the spot, initially launching in the UK, shows a diverse group of people spontaneously turning into bubbles which mix before turning back into human form and finally connecting with one another.

Demonstrating our broader commitment at Diageo to foster an environment that values everyone’s contribution and celebrates what makes them unique, in 2022 we also launched new disability inclusion guidelines, covering topics like physical and digital accessibility and recruitment, as well as guidance on disability-inclusive language to help teams have positive conversations. The guidelines also include examples of how we’re supporting people with disabilities in our teams, with partners and communities we work with and through our brands.

To find out more about Diageo’s initiatives to champion inclusion and diversity through our portfolio of brands, with the partners and communities we work with, and within our teams, visit Diageo.com.