Campaign: Voya and America’s Got Talent star Mandy Harvey disability inclusion campaign
Company: Voya Financial
Agency Partners: FINN Partners, Sweet Talk Publicity and Jonas Group.
Duration: Jan. 26, 2021 – ongoing

In 2016, Voya Financial, a New York-based financial company, launched an effort, now known as Voya Cares, to provide financial services to people with special needs and disabilities and their caregivers because CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr. realized “they were a very large community that wasn’t having their needs met,” said Tiffany Hawks, director at Voya.

Around the same time, Mandy Harvey, a Deaf singer-songwriter, appeared on America’s Got Talent. Harvey, 34, lost her hearing at age 18 because of a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The often callous judge Simon Cowell called her performance “one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.”

Harvey placed fourth in the competition and has since recorded three albums.

Strategy

In April 2020, Voya sponsored a virtual concert featuring Harvey, and for her latest album, Paper Cuts, Voya sponsored six music videos.

The company saw Harvey as an effective partner because “she serves as such a great example of someone who might have a disability but is really excelling in her field and showing that there are a lot of people out there who are capable and willing to work,” said Hawks, adding, “The more inclusive we can be, the better it serves everybody.”

Tactics

Voya released the first of the six videos, “Masterpiece,” on Jan. 25. The video features Harvey singing as she and other performers from the Deaf and hard of hearing community sign and splash paint on one another.

“Well, I’m no artist, but I think I’ve got this,” Harvey sings. “Might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Pick up the pieces, pieces of me, and I’ll be a masterpiece when I am done. Might never be done.”

Harvey said the song is about “embracing all of who you are — even the pieces that other people would see as broken — and realizing all of it makes up who you are.”

Harvey and Voya released the second video, “Bought Myself Roses,” Feb. 11 and plan to release a new one every two weeks through April.

Voya invested in the campaign in part, Hawks said, because the company wanted to counter the perception that hiring someone with special needs will cause problems for a hiring manager or colleagues, when in fact studies show that companies who employ people with disabilities perform at a higher level than those that don’t.

Results

The Paper Cuts campaign videos on Voya and Harvey’s YouTube channels have received more than 28,000 views.

“I would definitely say that while the numbers are important, what’s most important is that we are getting such a good message out there about inclusiveness, not just in society but in business,” said Hawks.