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corporate citizenship

Walgreens Welcomes Workers with Disabilities at New Training Center

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 2, 2013 03:36 PM

Walgreens has partnered with Have Dreams, an advocacy group for children with autism, on a new training facility in Evanston, Ill. It’s part of a growing awareness of the value of workers diagnosed with the condition and other disabilities that for Walgreens dates back to 2007, when it created a simulated Walgreens store that allowed students to practice skills like setting up displays, working the cash registers and stocking and organizing shelves.  

Kris Johnsen, executive director of Have Dreams, praised the collaboration as “bringing much-needed employment opportunities for young adults with autism in our community,” according to Evanston Now, noting that “the key is to build a support system and partnerships that will guide each of our participants toward a successful job experience and the skills needed for living independently.”

The largest national drugstore chain with 8,098 stores and $72 billion in sales, Walgreen’s committed in 2012 to have employees with disabilities make up 10 percent of its distribution center workforce and established a pilot program that began in Texas and is currently in place in Dallas, Houston, Chicago and New York as well as parts of Wisconsin and Connecticut.Continue reading...

ad watch

SunTrust Bank's Retirement Ad Hits Close to Home for Special Needs Families

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on March 28, 2013 12:51 PM

While other financial firms are relying on quirky campaigns about colored money, SunTrust Bank's new retirement ad hits very close to home for millions of American families. 

The ad targets families that have children with special needs, as many parents continue to financially care for developmentally or physically disabled children long after they've past their prime working years. The spot features a husband and wife and their adult son who has autism—the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Marks & Spencer Praised for Including Disabled Child in Holiday Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 8, 2012 03:02 PM

Four-year-old Seb White will make history as the first model with a learning disability to be featured in a British TV commercial, thanks to UK mega-retailer Marks & Spencer.

Seb’s mother, Caroline, posted his picture on the M&S Facebook page to highlight the absence of disabled children in advertising back in August, and the high street brand invited his participation in a photo shoot for their print holiday catalogue. Seb’s stellar performance then resulted in an invitation to appear in their holiday TV campaign.

"He won his place in our TV ad thanks to the natural charm and magical personality he showed on set at our magazine shoot,” said Steve Sharp, executive director of marketing at M&S, to the Independent. “All the kids had great fun filming the ad and Seb really was one of the gang — which is exactly how it should be."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Why Google's Self-Driving Car is a Game-Changer

Posted by Michael Janger on March 30, 2012 05:32 PM

Google this week posted a fascinating video on YouTube showing Steve Mahan, who is blind, driving to Taco Bell on his own, using Google’s pioneering self-driving technology. (It is captioned for the deaf, and audio-described for the blind.)

Google points out Mahan drove this car as an experiment on a “carefully programmed route.” Still, it is a brilliant and necessary application of a technology that was developed with the goal of making driving safer for everyone, eliminate traffic jams, and bring people to their destinations without getting lost. Just as the automobile changed the world at the beginning of the 20th century and introduced the so-called automobile culture, self-driving cars will impact how we live our lives in the 21st century.Continue reading...

brand commentary

The Impact of FCC Suing AT&T in Deaf Relay Services Scam

Posted by Brandchannel Staff on March 23, 2012 05:55 PM

With news that the FCC is suing AT&T over "deaf calling service fraud," we asked Michael Janger, who wrote "Baby Boomers: The New Disability Market" for us in December, for comment and context. Michael writes:

In the wake of the 2009 arrests of 26 people for Video Relay Services (VRS) fraud and their resulting convictions, the Federal Communications Commission implemented procedures for stronger oversight of its Telecommunication Relay Services program for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.  VRS and IP Relay operators have, in turn, tightened their policies and instituted systems to ensure compliance with FCC directives. 

These directives seem to have failed to reach AT&T. This week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against AT&T for improperly billing the FCC for calls made by Nigerian scam artists on AT&T’s IP-Relay service. The lawsuit charges that AT&T failed to follow a 2008 FCC requirement that relay providers register their users and verify their identities, and that up to 95% of AT&T’s call volume since 2009 was originated by fraudulent foreign callers taking advantage of the free calls. The cost of these improper reimbursements: $16 million.

For two decades, deaf and hard-of-hearing people have benefited from the Federal program for relay services, which enable them to communicate with anyone using a special telephone or videophone, or on their computer. Without these programs, many deaf people would be unable to call their family and friends, or do business over the phone. Even something as mundane as calling the credit card company about a lost credit card would be, at best, an hour-long call. Continue reading...

brand challenges

U.S. Challenges AT&T on Deaf Phone Relay Service

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 22, 2012 05:31 PM

Ever wonder what all those extra fees on your phone bill are paying for? Well, some part of it goes to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing be able to make phone calls. The service is given to folks “at no charge to place calls to hearing individuals through text messages over the Internet that are relayed by employees of a so-called IP Relay provider,” Reuters reports. Companies receive about $1.30 for each minute of the calls from the FCC.

Well, the U.S. government does not like how AT&T has been handling its relay services and has taken the telecom giant to court, saying that it has cheated the government “out of millions of dollars by knowingly failing to prevent swindlers from using a subsidized telephone service meant for deaf people,” the wire service notes. This is in addition to a suit filed by a whistleblower who used to work at one of the company’s call centers.Continue reading...

doing good

Goal-Oriented: Pepsi Refresh Helps the Blind Find the Sound of Football

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 2, 2011 03:02 PM

If you can’t see, is it possible to join the billions of people worldwide who play soccer out on the field of play? Well, the Pepsi Refresh Project just made it possible for a group of young men in Sweden.

Launched in 2010 as a public affairs platform, and a social media alternative to Super Bowl advertising, the Pepsi Refresh platform's mission is to donate $20 milion in grants to people and organizations that are making the world a better place. It's certainly making good on its promise to be a world-changing brand. Witness The Sound of Football, a Pepsi Refresh-funded project to help visually impaired athletes get out on the field and play.

The first test of the technology showed the huge potential for the technology. As the partners involved in the research project note, "As a first test, we arranged a football (aka soccer) match between a team of visually impaired players and a team of former professional footballers. We wanted to see how they would perform under equal conditions — in a match where no one can see."Continue reading...

response mechanism

NeuroFocus Puts Neuromarketing Top of Mynd

Posted by Jennifer Bassett on March 23, 2011 12:00 PM

This week, neuromarketing firm and Nielsen partner, Neurofocus, unveiled what it's calling the world's first wireless full-brain EEG-tracking headset, designed to capture brainwave activity, at the 75th Annual Advertising Research Foundation conference. Attendees were invited to its booth to demo the product (right) and chat with NeuroFocus CEO, Dr. A.K. Pradeep.
NeuroFocus, one of the leading neuromarketing experts, is already doing intriguing work for some of the world’s top companies. Pradeep was at the ARF event in New York to showcase Mynd and talk up his firm's methods, which he says are the answer to the flaws that many marketers find in focus groups.

The device took three years to produce, and as Pradeep describes it, the company already has ambitious plans for its use—from consumers donning the headset at home, perhaps using it to sync their mood with their TV viewing options, to medical-related research.Continue reading...

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