Disability in advertising took center stage during one of the most-watched live events of the year, the Academy Awards. Comcast debuted a 60-second ad which focuses on 7-year-old Emily, born blind, describing what she sees in her mind when watching her favorite movie, “The Wizard of Oz.”
Some of Hollywood’s top directors, set designers and make-up artists worked to bring her vision to life. The voice over for the commercial is provided by two-time Academy Award winner Robert Redford.
Comcast shared in a press release that the national campaign launched during the 2015 Academy Awards called “Emily’s Oz” that is intended to spark an even bigger conversation about how people with disabilities enjoy entertainment. “We want to create opportunities for people who love film and television, but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest,” said Tom Wlodkowski, who was hired as Vice President of Audience in 2012 to focus on the usability of the company’s products and services by people with disabilities. “By bringing the talking guide to as many people as possible, we can help to bridge that gap and make entertainment just as compelling, captivating and fun for people with a visual disability as it is for anyone else.” Comcast is partnering with organizations dedicated to serving people with visual disabilities to bring the company’s new voice guidance technology to more people. The “talking guide” reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots as well as DVR and On Demand settings, giving users the freedom to independently explore and navigate thousands of shows and movies.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ New York office was the ad agency behind the work and in a recent Adweek article GS&P’s executive creative director, Paul Caiozzo, shared, “We’re really proud of this one. It’s the first big national spot to come from this office, and it’s great to have this work debut on a big stage like the Oscars. It’s a beautiful moment for GS&P New York. It’s not often you get to do something that feels meaningful on a level far beyond advertising. It definitely shows how entertainment truly is for everyone.”
The microsite brings together immersive behind-the-scenes stories and extends the message in a unique way, and here’s a video of Emily sharing more of her story.
As a blind and visually impaired person I let people know that I see things from a different perspective. It truly is amazing to know that during the Oscars, Emily’s message was seen and heard by millions of people across the country, hopefully giving everyone the opportunity to see things from a different perspective.