‘Sady’ opens with a mirror reflection of Sady Paulson, an asian woman and wheelchair user. Another woman, who mostly exists offscreen, assists her in getting ready for the day. In the next scene, we encounter Sady writing the words we are hearing, using Apple’s Switch Control. “People think that having a disability is a barrier. But that’s not the way I see it.”
The scene cuts to a young white man signing with a young black woman through their iPhones, as Sady says “You can catch up with friends”.
“You can capture a moment with your family.” A scene featuring a family of three in a park, seated below a tree with a picnic basket and blanket. The father takes a picture of his son smiling. The camera then cuts to a closeup of his eyes, which reveals to the audience that he is blind.
“And you can start the day bright and early.” A scene of a woman laying in bed, with the wheelchair parked next to it. As she interacts with her phone, the blinds go up.
“You can take a trip somewhere new.” A group leaves a cabin and enters into the wilderness, with a close up shot revealing a red hearing aid behind his ear. He uses his phone to shift the mode from indoor to outdoor.
“You can concentrate on every word of a story.” A young student reads a story on his iPad as each individual word being spoken is highlighted. And finally, “You can take the long way home.” A woman in a wheelchair uses her Apple Watch to track her workout.
The story then reverses, rewinding back through the woman working out, past the boy on the iPad, etc until the camera pans out to reveal Sady using Switch Control to edit the very ad we are watching. “Or edit a film like this one. When technology is designed for everyone, it lets anyone do what they love, including me.”
First off, we love Sady! We’d love to work with Sady! But we have a few concerns about the script for this piece. Disabled people exist in a society where we’re spoken of in very specific ways. And the ways we’re portrayed, be it in film or advertising or news stories, ultimately shift how we perceive ourselves.
This spot relies heavily on the shock value of a surprise reveal. It happens when we discover Sady is typing the words we’re hearing. It happens when we find out the man who is taking a picture of his son is, in fact, blind. And it happens at the end, when we, as viewers are surprised to realize that Sady actually edited this piece. The word ‘can’ is used five times in this ad, which demonstrates a focus on abilities instead of the product Apple is selling; Which, in this case, Switch Control.
We simply ask Apple (and Sady): What does Switch Control do?