Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pride on Display

(this video is captioned, simply hit the 'youtube' button to view it on YouTube and then  press the [cc] button underneath the video on the right side)

I was watching television the other day and, out of the blue, this Swiffer commercial comes on. I was gobsmacked, and not by the cleaning efficiency of the swiffer, but by the man doing the cleaning. He in Google searches comes up when you search 'swiffer' 'one arm.' As I searched around I found a much longer video about him and his family - turns out these aren't actors but a real husband and wife with their actual beautiful children. In the longer version he talks about how he lost his arm to cancer and some of the frustrations that came with not being able to help out as much as before.

I chose not to show that version here on my blog but you can find it by Googling the terms mentioned above. I chose to show instead the commercial that is playing on television. I find it even more compelling, though I was glad to learn more about the family in the other one, because it's just so dynamic, so in your face, so 'difference' and 'disability' proud. There's no shame here. No hiding of the arm. There's also an amazingly restrained approach to this commercial. It's more about showing Swiffer as an adaptive devise that makes cleaning easier than showing him as in 'inspiration' either because he's disabled and still doing the cleaning up or because he's a man and willing to do the cleaning up.

I openly applaud Swiffer for this commercial, and for the longer informational video. I know you are selling a product but you are also selling diversity and a unadulterated, unfiltered, unashamed look at disability. We need more of this.

Much more.


Karry said...

This is so awesome!!! Thanks for sharing, Dave.

CapriUni said...

Yeah. This is great. I remember when I was a teenager, organizing with other families with disabled lobbying companies like McDonald's to include depictions of disabled people in their ads, and how the whole notion was met with ridicule, because disability has such a negative connotation that no company would ever want their product to be "tainted" with it.

We've come a long way in the last generation and a half. We still have a long way to go.

clairesmum said...

there is also a Swiffer ad of the same theme, featuring a husband and wife who appear to be in their 80s. You don't often see "old people" in TV ads for products used by all ages...and even in ads for products generally used by "old people" the actors appear to be in their early 60s with no visible wrinkles.
Perhaps consumer product companies and ad agencies are discovering that people who are different have the same needs and interests (and money to spend) as ' everyone else'.

Anonymous said...

I had researched the delightful elderly (in their nineties)couple on a previous Swiffer commercial, so figured this family was not made up of actors. I applaud the company for using real people with challenges in their ads. :) Well done. samm

wheeliecrone said...

Brilliant ad! As a one-armed person, it is so amazingly wonderful to see a person demonstrating a product in the way that I would use that product - not as an "inspirational" demonstration of what a person with a disability is able to do, but as a demonstration of the ease with which a product can be used.
Bravo, Swiffer!

Kristine said...

That makes me so happy!! Disability without shame or inspirational overtones, just part of the norm. Not a good thing or a bad thing, just a thing. Not faked by an actor in "wheelchair face," but authentic representation. So simple, so important.

Stephanie Allen Crist said...

This is a great example of how conscientious marketing can influence society and why it's so important for companies to be responsive to social changes!