ReelAbilities 2020

The largest film festival in the U.S. dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the work of people with different disabilities.

The Client

What were once corporate buzzwords mainly used for “diversity washing,” diversity and inclusion have now become two of the most important issues that society faces today. That’s one of the many reasons why the JFS Houston Alexander Institute for Inclusion proudly produces the ReelAbilities Houston Film & Arts Festival every year. With 2020’s festival coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, JFS Houston had huge plans in the works.

The Obstacle

JFS needed a PR and marketing strategy that could hold its own against their star-studded lineup and take their event to the next level. The objective was to:

  • Reduce stigma, eliminate barriers and change perceptions by using the arts as a vehicle to highlight the experiences of individuals living with disabilities
  • Celebrate the talent and contributions of individuals living with disabilities through their arts and talents
  • Position ReelAbilities Houston as movement or change agent that Houston is proud to bring to life year after year
  • Be an advocate for promoting the importance of diversity and inclusion in Houston

The Approach

What ReelAbilities truly seeked out of our services is spurring conversations, engaging with the artists and engaging with the festival on social media. More specifically, we took a 3-pronged approach to:

  • Use PR to promote the different ReelAbilities events in local and national publications
  • Use social media to spread awareness about ReelAbilities events, sponsors and other organizations that create a difference in the lives of people with disabilities
  • Use media buying to generate widespread awareness with a lean budget

The Results

We couldn’t be prouder of our efforts in support of a great and highly relevant cause. Our tactics showed substantial results:

  • AMA Crystal Award Winner for Nonprofit Event Promotion
  • 3K attendees. 1000+ more than 2019’s festival
  • 17M total media impressions
  • 10 feature articles on speakers, including Marlee Matlin, Lex Frieden and J.R. Martinez
  • 3.3M impressions from media buying