The National Autistic Society’s “Now I Know” campaign shines a light on the lives of autistic women and non-binary people to improve understanding of autism. Through the lens of personal experience, Ogilvy Health’s campaign aims to raise awareness of late diagnosis and encourage others to share their story.
The UK’s leading charity for people with autism has collaborated with world-renowned photographer Rankin and his team, led by autistic photographer Alex Heron. Due to gender stereotypes and lack of understanding, autistic women and non-binary people can often be overlooked and live undiagnosed late in life, which can have serious negative impacts on mental and physical well-being. Research suggests that the number of autistic men and women is more equal than previously thought, with the most recent estimated ratio of autistic men to women being 3:1.
The image and VOD series was inspired by the words of Dawn Mills, who was diagnosed at the age of 56 and features in the campaign. She said, “I always knew who I was, now I know why I am.”
Alex Heron, an autistic photographer on Rankin’s team, worked with each participant to photograph them in spaces that reflected their individual personalities and interests. The unique element of this campaign is a photo installation that included a cable release so that each person could control the capture of their image. The campaign therefore symbolizes each person actively taking control of their image and a moment in time of their autistic journey that reflects when they finally knew they had autism.
Alex Heron, photographer at Rankin: “I am very moved when I think of working on this project. When I grew up and was diagnosed my GP told me not to tell anyone because I would never have a job and I would never have a relationship or anything , so I kept it a secret. I just never want a child to feel the way I felt. Anything I can do to make sure kids or people who are being diagnosed feel seen and see that there actually is a job, that there is room for everyone and that just find that space.
Rankin: “One of the brilliant things about the way Alex has used his photography is bringing in subjects and collaborating with them to create something that makes them feel seen and understood and I think that’s one thing. extremely important thing to do with photography is the power of photography.
“The conversations around neurodiversity in women and non-binary people are just beginning. There are still a lot of things that are not talked about and a lot of people who never see their experiences represented. We all know that representation is important in transforming culture. This is a campaign that was long overdue. Involve those it speaks to, and to, every step of the way. Campaigns love to talk about diversity and authenticity, but don’t always put them into practice. We wanted to make sure that would be the case. Tamsin Wills and Lydia Rylance Murdoch, Creative Team, Ogilvy Health.
The social media campaign is running on all platforms nationwide starting this week.
Agency / Creative
Company Name: United Kingdom
Creative: Tamsin Wills
Creative: Lydia Rylance Murdoch
Account Manager: Bronte Hackford
Strategy Director: Jon Lee
Social manager: Charlotte Turner
PR Director: Antonia Betts
Creative Director: Nick Schanche
Creative Director: Chris Chappell