There are risks to building an ad around a person’s disability–a person isn’t defined by the disability, so a 60-second spot that focuses on that often ends up being condescending, at best, or downright inappropriate. But this new spot for Comcast and Xfinity’s “talking guide,” which allows users to control their television with their voice, gets it right.
The spot, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners New York, stars Emily, a seven-year-old blind girl whose favorite movie is The Wizard Of Oz. In the 60-second ad, she describes what she imagines as she watches the film–what she sees when she hears the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and Dorothy go about their adventure. As she does, the ad draws up Emily’s version of the characters, and puts them in motion in her Oz. The ad (which premieres during the Oscars, naturally) is extremely respectful to Emily–there are four additional videos on YouTube that go into the process of how she detailed her idea of the characters and the world, and that give us more of the little girl to go on–and the entire campaign is built around a service that actually works specifically for people with a disability like Emily’s. Rather than use Emily to tug at our heartstrings, it uses Comcast’s service as an opportunity to put those of us without vision disabilities in her shoes for a moment–and as it turns out, they’re pretty comfortable.