Super Bowl Commercials

Feb 04, 2015
Tagged with: Super Bowl Commercials

I am sure that you were one of the 114 million people that watched the Super Bowl. If not, it’s OK, it will happen again next year around the same time. What may also be around or not are some of the commercials that featured people with disabilities.

There has been a bit of a lash back in the disability community about the use of people with disabilities in commercials during the Super Bowl. It has ranged from “this is great!” to “they are using inspiration to sell products!”

The two commercials in question deal with Amy Purdy, Paralympian and dancing with the stars performer and Braylon O’Neil, a youth that is a leg amputee, promoting Microsoft technology.

Now, both commercials in my opinion fall short of the inspiration meme. I do not see where these commercials use disability to pull at the heart strings. What needs to be clarified is the definition of inspiration. What is inspiration? We can use Merriam-webster’s, which states “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create.” Now, this does not really make me think about buying a car or getting new prosthetics.

Now, on the flip side it really does make me feel, that in regards to Braylon, that walking is important. For a person with a disability who does not walk this would be something to aspire to or to find a way for it to happen. But for the majority of 114 million watching the Super Bowl and 56 million with disabilities being inspired to walk may only reach or effect a few.

In regards to inspirational, both of these commercials did not focus on the negativity of being a person with a disability. The commercial was not set up to focus on the negativity of a disability. It was not in Amy’s case and it was very subtle in Braylon’s case. Amy’s commercial really showed her life in regards to being an athlete and having an entertainment career. The fact that the whole commercial was to sell a car I did not even take notice until the end. Braylon’s commercial did try to pull the heart strings but not because he has a disability but the focus was on the joy of being able to walk. There was not any negativity focused on not having limbs.

At the end of the day, both commercials were not focusing on the pain and sadness of having a disability, then all of sudden how great it is that they have overcome. This would be consider inspirational themed. Instead, these commercials show the empowerment, the independence, the joy and the beauty of being a person with a disability. This would be something new to see in all commercials. Too bad all media outlets and commercials do not carry this same view. This would be very new. Imagine if they did. Now, that would be inspirational.

What are your thoughts on the Super Bowl Commercials that featured people with disabilities?

Amy’s commercial

Braylon’s commercial

Author: Bob Lujano