When commercials 'Keep it real': The rise of realistic advertising



Summary:

It is reported in this article that a recent Swiffer TV commercial featured a man with only one arm, and more interestingly, he appeared with his real family in the same ad.

First, the article points out that though disabled persons may have appeared in other mainstream ads, likewise with war veterans, paralympians and the elderly, this particular Swiffer commercial featuring a real person with disability whose name is Zack Rukavina, does not strike as if focusing on his disability. As the article writes “The commercial didn’t provoke pity, embarrassment or portray its leading man as any kind of superhero. The Rukavinas are a totally normal family and that’s what Swiffer was successful at conveying.”

Secondly, and perhaps the main point is that now comes the time when the advertising industry should be more realistic in depicting through their ads “the reality of what America is today,” and which the Swiffer ad has successfully managed to, alongside another good example of a realistc ad, the Cheerios commercial which features an interracial family.


Comment:

First, I think nothing wrong with featuring a person with disability in an ad as long as it is done in a manner that does not poke fun at or insult the person's disability. And as the Swiffer has done, not focusing on the disability of Zack, the message comes strongly that whether one is disabled or non-disabled, all are part of the same society, and that everyone else is as normal as the other.
Also as a viewer, seeing real people, especially real families, who are not celebrities at all, interacting in an ad is a more effective sales pitch to attract more buyers. There is indeed some compelling psychological force that makes an ordinary consumer relate with the ordinary people appearing in the ad.
Lastly, it is high time that the advertising industry become more diverse and inclusive in their choice of ad models, since they should not only be promoting a product or service, but good values as well.



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