3002: Guinness Commercial – Disability in Modern Media

Over the past week or so Guinness released a commercial that I believe shows disability in a positive light. Of course my world view as a non-disabled person definitely skews my view of the commercial, but the video seems to have a strong message on a subject that is usually not brought up in advertisement. It shows a group of people playing wheelchair basketball. The twist at the end shows that only one of the large group of friends is actually disabled.

There is a unity present in this commercial that I haven’t really seen in mainstream television ads that include people with disabilities. In terms of social implications, the video suggests a form of equality in that everyone is seen in a wheelchair and that no one person is better than the other. In fact the final frames in the commercial (before the obligatory product shot) consist of the group of friends sitting at a round table, a long time symbol of equality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwndLOKQTDs

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2 thoughts on “3002: Guinness Commercial – Disability in Modern Media

  1. Though also able-bodied and likely naive to the views of the disabled, I have to agree that the Guinness commercial sheds such positive light on the integration of physically handicapped individuals into mainstream society. Now, this is not to say that the man in said commercial was striving to “fit in”. I feel as though Guinness has managed to market its product in a way which doesn’t tug on our traditional heartstrings because the positive messages of strong friendship and ingenuity are blatantly present.

    As expected, the ad does have its fair share of detractors. One example is Matt Beebe, a YouTube account holder. Matt appears to have viewed the commercial and left the following comment: “As an actual wheelchair person, I don’t see this commercial the same way that you who walk do. In fact, I did a whole commercial response to it on my channel. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEA5XTYqMjs&feature=c4-overview&list=UU6GClWFPlAWQCf98RdViDaw)
    Personally, I would hate it if my friends felt like they should be in wheelchairs in order to play with me. I can play just fine. I’ll even probably win. I enjoy understanding and celebrating in people’s differences.” Beebe’s opinion is certainly valid. After all, one should be given the opportunity to participate in athletics to the best of his/her ability without special treatment. But I don’t believe that Guinness intended to be all-encompassing with its ad; whereas Beebe argues the point of overall representation, the commercial is meant to portray a unique bonding experience among friends. Who knows, said bonding experience may have simply been a one-time experiment.

    If I were disabled and confined to a wheelchair, I would love nothing more than to play regular pick-up games with my able-bodied pals. Like Beebe, I’d take pride in showing off the fact that my athleticism could never be hindered by my wheelchair. We all wish to be both cohesive and eccentric. Once again, I do not know what it’s like to walk or roll in a disabled person’s shoes. But, if the theoretical friends of my aforementioned situation wanted to experience the quirks of a game on wheels, I wouldn’t detest.

  2. I find the post by Beebe to be very interesting; I did not at first think of this in that light. I am fairly ambivalent on the nature of this commercial. As nice as it would be to have my friends support me as those in the video did, it would also be nice to be treated as though nothing was different and just do things as normal. I suppose since I do not have a disability and have not faced this situation, I cannot say which would be the better option. One thing that did puzzle me from this commercial is what it had to do with Guinness. I do not really see the correlation between a group of friends making their friend feel less self-conscious and Guinness. I feel as though Guinness was trying to evoke sympathy with the commercial which then creates a positive association with Guinness.That being said, I do find the commercial to be, overall, positive in its message and portrayals.

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