Apple has shown off the abilities of its suite of products in the latest campaign “The Greatest”. The ad shows off the accessibility features available on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Mac Books.
Following in the tradition of powerful campaigns, this year Apple has gone above and beyond. The ad focuses on those with different ability levels, from people in wheelchairs, different bodies, and a deaf person, Apple highlights how its products assist with different ability levels.
Ahead of International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December, the two and a half minute spot features voice over, voice control, image and people detection mode, assistive touch and other features that have been designed to make the lives of those with differing levels of ability easier.
The ad is a positive step for representation within the media. Statistics show that over 15 percent of the world’s population lives with disability, yet on screen there is a serious problem with this group being represented. Apple has managed to achieve representation, without tokenism nor a push to be too ‘woke’ – often a criticism with tokenistic representation.
It’s easy to be cynical about this ad, there’s no denying that. Apple is a huge corporation that is no stranger to criticism and controversy. And yes, “The Greatest” at its most simple is a marketing tool. But, in a world of Elon Musk’s taking control of public speech and giving platforms for hate speech in an effort to have a war with the “woke left”, perhaps there is room for another corporation to cut-through the oversaturation of content with a message from and for the disabled community.
If Apple didn’t release this ad, and didn’t challenge the audience to view the challenges of those with disabilities and how an Apple product can greatly improve their day-to-day lives – then we wouldn’t be talking about it. We wouldn’t be forced into a conversation around the representation of disabled bodies. Perhaps it’s a little too on the nose, but surely this is better than the alternative – which is to continue seeing the familiar faces, bodies, abilities that we have always seen on screen. Nothing is challenged for fear of being criticised as it being a marketing ploy.
Yes, Apple wants us to buy the products on screen. It’s an ad, not a short film, but it’s an engaging and important piece of work.
Indigenous Australians represented
Bringing the representation closer to home, the ad’s soundtrack is performed by female Australian Indigenous singers Spinifex Gum. The lyrics have been taken directly from the famous Muhammad Ali speach “I am the Greatest”. It creates an upbeat and celebratory tone for the spot.
Perhaps it’s too simplistic to think that this ad will change the future of advertising – but we’ve seen through the years that Apple’s ability to create powerful ads has changed cultural discourse, if only for a moment.