Advertising that aims to evoke empathy for people with disabilities is notoriously hard to do well. So often, it comes off as either mawkish or overly provocative. But TBWA Toronto strikes the perfect tone in this inspiring short film for Accessible Media—a company that makes Canadian print and broadcast media more accessible to the blind with full-text spoken-word versions of articles and voiced descriptions of action happening on TV. The spot makes you feel what it's like to be blind simply by showing you in detail. It follows Jeff Berwick, who's been blind since he was 13, through a regular day, on his long walk to work and back, with Jeff narrating along the way. There's nothing too showy about the visual effects—just some blurring of the frames here and there, and some interesting camera techniques that seem to isolate Jeff from his environment in straight-on shots of him. Otherwise, it's all story—and the details are fascinating. Jeff talks about the "sound shadows" he sees, how his children feel about his blindness, what his dreams are like (visual but fuzzy), why it's harder to get around when it's raining—and in the end, quite non-intrusively, why described TV is a good thing. "I think television is part of society, right?" he says. "It's where we get our information from. It's where we get our entertainment from. And being able to access that medium on a par with everybody else in society is fantastic." Humble and straightforward, it doesn't feel like a pitch at all. Partly, it's that Berwick is a wonderful narrator. But really, it's that we've been shown, not told, the value of what this company does. Nothing is as persuasive.
Client: Accessible Media Inc.
Agency: TBWA, Toronto
Spot: "Jeff's Day"
Chief Creative Officer: Jack Neary
Writer/Creative Director: Allen Oke
Art Director/Creative Director: Mark Mason
Agency Producer: Nadya MacNeil
Account Director: Helen Winfield
Account Executive: Ben Turner
Director/Producer: David Grabias, Artifact Studios
Executive Producer for Artifact Studios: Anne Edgar
Executive Producers for B-Reel: Susan Rued Anderson, Pelle Nilsson
Producer for B-Reel: Joanne Duray
Associate Producer: Amy Brown
DP: Howard Shack
Editor: Matt Coddaire
Sound: Chad Hunt
Gaffer: Tim Breen
Production Manager: Jono Nemethy
Production Assistant: Tara Hughes
Production Assistant: David Vanstone