Media can play a significant role in promoting inclusivity by normalizing disabilities and changing the narratives around them. Despite people with disabilities making up 15% of the global population, they still remain largely unseen or inaccurately depicted in media. Large companies can drive this change by depicting people with disabilities in an empowering way, and just before International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd), Apple did just that.
Directed by Kim Gehring, “The Greatest” is a beautifully produced campaign demonstrating the powers of accessible technology for all. The video stars people with disabilities using smartphones, tablets, and watches to access innovative features like Door Detection (helps blind and low-vision users find a door and know how far they are from it), Sound Recognition (detects familiar sounds, including a smoke alarm, a fire alarm, a doorbell, water running, and a baby crying), and Voice Control (lets users speak voice commands to navigate and control their devices). These visuals emphasize that these devices can do so much more than just make calls, send texts, and help users browse the internet. These innovative features allow users with disabilities to remove barriers and move through the world more independently and confidently than ever.
What stood out the most and made this video a perfect example of how people with disabilities want to be represented in media are the numerous ways the cast of the video are shown living fulfilling lives and doing the things they love to do. While I could go on and on about the many details and elements that make this commercial so impactful, you should watch it for yourself. Once again, Apple has proved that it is a brand that has mastered the art of creating accessible technology and marketing it incredibly well.
NOTE: Apple also released an audio-described version of the film to bring awareness to the needs of blind and low-vision audiences.