Guinness Commerical

This commercial is really something that we can discuss in class especially since we have read Chapters 6 and 7 of our textbook. In this commercial a lot of assumptions regarding disabled people are addressed, especially the assumption that disabled people are not normal and fall short of doing things that non-disabled people can do but this commercial challenges that. Not only does the commercial challenge assumptions it also shows how non-disabled people could be willing to treat a friend as human and not as subhuman.

The dialogue is, “the choices we make reveal the nature of our character,” and it can be argued that the company is basically putting pity on non-disabled people for not wanting to understand disability from a disabled person’s point of view. However, the words used through the commercial really struck me: Determination (the drive to understand disability from the perspective of those who are disabled), Loyalty (the commitment to in trying to understand disabled people and their experience in society as being labeled as disabled, not wanting to show pity and not wanting them to see it as a obstacle to overcome), and Friendship (throughout it all, their is still mutual understanding between non-disabled and disabled people).

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3 thoughts on “Guinness Commerical

  1. From the point of view of a non-disabled person, I find this commercial to be very inspiring. I think it breaks many stereotypes that an average person might have regarding disabled people in general, their capabilities, and their place in a non-disabled society. This commercial also negates the idea that disabled people must integrate themselves into mainstream society. Although that is important to some extent, it is equally important for normal people to fit in to a “disabled society,” when necessary. For example in this advertisement, perfectly able-bodied people were playing on wheelchairs with one disabled player. However, it is important to note that they were not doing this out of pity. To my understanding this was for empowerment purposes as well as just plain friendship.
    I think it’s great that Guinness is promoting disability rights and (hopefully) eradicating any stereotypes common people might have about disabled people. However I do have to question their motives: Are they sincerely trying to change people’s perception of the disabled community, or is this just another sentimental money-making strategy?

  2. Although I personally find this commercial empowering, I do understand how some people could find this offensive. Being in a wheelchair is not all just fun and games; it is a real lifelong struggle and just by sitting in one and playing basketball does not mean you can fully understand the lifestyle. To some disabled people it might seem like mockery or falsely impersonating a person in a wheelchair. Obviously the point of the commercial is not to be offensive, but it makes sense why people might find it insensitive. I think it has many more positive messages, as Hira mentioned, like showing that disabled people can perform well in sports and the power of friendship. Although I’d like to believe that their purpose of making this commercial were specifically to portray these messages, I cannot help but conclude that they used a disability as a money-making strategy. This commercial is thought-provoking and to an extent, pity inducing. It makes the viewer remember it, as well as the brand name.

    • Great comment, Veena. As we discussed in class, there’s other forms of condescension than pity; and of course, the “inspiring athlete” image is the one media cliché that we see as often or more often than the object of pity. So a central question — and it’s a toughie — is whether this commercial is an improvement over the imagery we usually see or just a new way to use condescension and charity. Or, put differently — the idea of a great productive relationship between disabled and nondisabled people is important; but is that what we’re seeing?

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