Dyslexia Canada turns to Wordle to spell out its awareness message

Who: Dyslexia Canada with dentsumcgarrybowen for strategy and creative.

What: “Trouble with Words,” a new awareness campaign highlighting the daily struggles of the approximately one in five Canadians—including 750,000 school age children—who live with Dyslexia.

When & Where: The campaign launched on Monday (just before World Accessibility Day on May 19) and is running across digital/social, complemented by print and radio.

Why: As with previous awareness campaigns, the goal is to demonstrate how living with dyslexia goes beyond simply mixing up letters, and can have a profoundly negative impact on people’s life.

According to the organization, 50% of people with low literacy skills live below the poverty line, while 40% of children with reading disabilities experience mental health issues.

How: Like last year’s “It’s Hard to Read” campaign, which reimagined the titles of classic children’s stories like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “Little Red Riding Hood” with complex equivalents, the new work is designed to demonstrate the effects of living with Dyslexia.

This year’s campaign is leveraging the success of the daily word game Wordle, whose popularity has led brands like Lego and Hilton to create advertising referencing the game’s instantly recognizable green and yellow squares. Social ads use Wordle’s five by six grid to deliver 30-character messages like “Words are even harder with dyslexia” and “When you are dyslexic no word is easy,” all of them awkwardly broken up by the game’s five-letter word constraints.

The radio ads take a more matter-of-fact approach, with a young boy saying how he has trouble with some of the cruel words faced by those with dyslexia, such as “lazy,” “stupid,” “dropout” and “failure.”

The campaign also uses URLs that are misspelled variations on Wordle, such as Worled.ca, Wrdole.com and Wodrel.ca. All of the advertising drives to the ItsHardToRead.org website, which has been described as the world’s hardest-to-read website because of how text moves around, words and letters move in and out of focus, and letters in words are transposed.

And we quote: “The campaign brings to light the challenges faced by 750,000 Canadian children and their families, engaging Canada in a long-overdue conversation about the needs of those with dyslexia.” — Christine Staley, executive director, Dyslexia Canada.

Chris Powell