Apple’s Empowering Ad Puts Disability Representation in the Spotlight

Apple’s Empowering Ad Puts Disability Representation in the Spotlight
News by Anja Paspalj
Published: December 05, 2022

Just in time for International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), Apple released a powerful campaign titled “The Greatest”. The spot depicts people with various disabilities using their Apple products, including an iPhone and an Apple Watch.

In the United States, only 3.1% of characters on-screen are disabled, greatly limiting representation. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Apple’s campaign has resonated so positively across social media channels channels, putting disability representation in the spotlight.

The ad, produced and executed by Apple’s in-house creative team, highlights the variety of accessibility features of Apple devices, and how they can be made the most of. Some of the features (that you may not have even known about) are noise recognition features, door detection, screen reading and of course, Siri voice commands.

Set to the music of indigenous Australian singers Spinifex Gum, the song featured is titled “I Am the Greatest” with lyrics taken from the legendary Muhammad Ali speech of the same name.

Considering that the theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is focused on “the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world”, the way Apple products are presented in “The Greatest” is right on target.

The campaign includes support for audio descriptions for people with low vision or blindness. Additionally, it leads to a dedicated Accessibility page on the Apple website, which highlights all the ways that built-in features can be customized, accessibility support resources and a shopping section for device accessories focused on accessibility.

When considering representation and minority groups in advertising, there is always a risk of missing the mark, as many companies opt for this direction as a simple way to harness social media capital and achieve viral marketing. This usually falls flat (and for good reason), as it does not truly strive to bring awareness to an important theme, but rather exploits it.

The same cannot be said for Apple’s “The Greatest” ad. Let’s hope that they continue to use their platform to kickstart positive changes, beyond a marketing campaign.

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