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‘New normal’ safety measures are designed to promote peace of mind, but they’re making life hard for the visually impaired. At a time when people want to see brands looking out for the general public, Kellogg’s is showing solidarity with the visually impaired by supporting the World Upside Down campaign. We explore the insights behind this and why the 'new normal' poses significant challenges for some.

From following supermarket one-way systems to keeping your distance from fellow pedestrians, a lot of the safety measures that allow people to re-occupy public spaces in the post-lockdown period are sight-dependent. For the visually impaired, this can make getting out and about a nerve-wracking experience. “People tell me off for getting too close to them, but I can’t see them,” says Rachael Pereira, a visually-impaired woman from Nottingham. “It’s little things like this happening everyday that put me off going out at all.”

According to Eleanor Southwood, chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), non-inclusive social distancing measures risk imposing a ‘double lockdown’ for people with sight loss. "We want the government and businesses to take action so that measures to protect us are inclusive to everyone, not just to those who can see them," she says.

'New Normal' safety measures are making life difficult for the visually impaired
Florian Herzog (2019) ©

In order to raise awareness of this reality, Kellogg’s has joined the World Upside Down campaign, which is inverting adverts on the Piccadilly Circus lights - Europe’s biggest advertising display - in a bid to symbolise the upheaval that social distancing measures have brought to the lives of the visually impaired. A campaign organised by the RNIB, World Upside Down intends to promote public understanding of the post-lockdown challenges faced by the visually impaired.

Post-lockdown life is proving difficult for the 2 million people who live with visual impairments in the UK; research from the RNIB finds that 66% of people with sight loss feel less independent post-lockdown than they did during lockdown, and just half are continuing to shop for themselves. With visual impairments not always immediately obvious, the World Upside Down campaign responds to the need for greater public awareness of the daily struggles experienced by those with sight loss living in the new normal.

At a time when 78% of people feel brands should help them in their daily lives during the pandemic, organisations that show awareness of the disproportionate impact of post-lockdown life on certain communities are likely to resonate well with consumers.

Lottie Hanwell is a junior behavioural analyst. She loves travelling, reading novels, cuddling dogs, and hosting dinner parties. A graduate of engish literature and spanish, she’s adventured through South and Central America, where she developed a taste for Argentine malbec and dodgy reggaeton. Now settled back in London, she hopes to translate her fondness of people-watching to her role at Canvas8.


24 Jul 20
2 min read

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