Two ad holding company veterans have launched what they are calling the first creative agency—called Doable—that is founded and staffed by talent with disabilities.
The founders include Hugh Boyle and Bob Wagner. Their mission is to improve representation of talent with disabilities in the ad agency sector and also address a lack of research and insights about disabled consumers and how that impacts portrayals of the disabled in ad and marketing campaigns. Boyle and Wagner have simultaneously launched a research firm—Consumers With Disabilities Research Foundation--to address the latter gap.
CoDi Research is said to be the first panel-based consumer research company in North America, solely focused on consumers and shoppers with disabilities.
Boyle, a trans-tibial amputee, served as CEO of Omnicom’s TracyLocke for five years before leaving in 2020. Earlier he served as Global Chief Digital Officer at WPP’s Geometry Global.
Wagner, who has been hearing impaired since birth, held senior roles at Omnicom agencies and began his career on the client side at P&G and Campbell’s Soup.
The startups are receiving launch and other support as well as office space from Dallas-based agency Moroch Partners. They also launch with an agreement in place to be part of Worldwide Partners, a Denver-based global network of independent agencies. And CoDi Research has a co-operative partnership with the UK’s Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, which the founders say is the only other research organization focused on consumers with disabilities.
Doable will focus on accessible design for digital and ecommerce platforms, to help companies move beyond the legal compliance requirements for accessibility in the American with Disabilities Act.
Other marketing services will be driven by talent within the disabled community, says Boyle. “The amount of underutilized creative talent we’ve found within the disabled community is as staggering as it is inspirational,” he said. “Capabilities such as photography, videography, graphic design, social content creation and technology development are the most striking and it’s a travesty that this goes so systematically unnoticed. We’re going to give these creative people the chance to share their talent with the marketing world.”
CoDi Research launches with a research panel of 3000 working-aged adults with disabilities, distributed across all 50 states and spanning a large number of conditions and disabilities.
Says Wagner: "The first significant research to come from this group will be focused on the challenges of grocery shopping with a disability, both in-store and online. It's remarkable that when one-in five shoppers in every store has a disability of some sort, that this important research has never been undertaken before, We’re really excited to start to see the results and share insights about the challenges consumers with disabilities face when shopping for groceries and how to address them.”
The research company will also do insights work for brands beyond shopper issues including areas like travel, entertainment, gaming, and more.