Agency: dentsumcgarrybowen. Dentsu Studio, Isobar
Client: Dyslexia Canada / Market: Canada
One in five people worldwide has dyslexia, and the neurological condition is not just about jumbled letters or words jumping around on a page. All too often young people with dyslexia are dismissed as being slow or unmotivated. Dyslexia Canada is on a mission to ensure that every child with dyslexia in the country gets a fair and equitable education and =to demonstrate what it is like to have the condition to those who don’t.
Working closely with the charity Dyslexia, we created a campaign to demonstrate that dyslexia is no fairy tale. The It’s Hard to Read campaign rewrites classic children’s fairy tales using words that deliberately complicate the story to overwhelm the reader and highlight the difficulties of dyslexia. The bilingual campaign gives the audience a glimpse of what children with dyslexia experience every day, highlighting that for those with the condition, no story is simple.
The out-of-home and print experiential campaign uses familiar illustrations along with altered titles of classic children’s books: The Three Little Pigs becomes The Triumvirate of Undersized Swine; Goldilocks and the Three Bears is renamed Gilded Coiffure and the Ursine Ternary; while Little Red Riding Hood becomes The Diminutive Crimson-Clad Maiden.
The campaign is accompanied by an immersive new website, itshardtoread.org, which has since been dubbed the hardest website to read in the world. The site aims to help those with dyslexia overcome the learning disability, and properly educate others on the reality of the issue.
“For a person with dyslexia, the printed word can seem like a foreign language that everyone understands but you. Dentsu immediately understood the gravity of the situation and the impact of the lack of awareness and understanding,” says the charity’s founder Keith Gray. “We are grateful for the time dentsu took to really listen and understand that dyslexia is more than just reversing letters or scrambling words.”
The campaign resulted in over 51.3 million radio impressions and 777,000 visits to the new website. A further 2.67 million interacted with outdoor media, while over nine million people were exposed to print coverage of the campaign. This extensive reach has increased much-needed awareness around the issue. In February 2022, the Ontario Human Rights Commission ruled in favour of Dyslexia Canada, forcing the provincial government to take action to modernise its curriculum with materials and programmes that recognise and help those with dyslexia.
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