What does a person who is blind see when they watch a movie? This was the idea that drove US cable company Comcast to create a magical branded entertainment campaign called ‘Emily’s Oz’.
The campaign launches the company’s new "talking guide", which has been developed by the Comcast Accessibility Lab to assist people with visual disabilities to experience film and TV. The product includes voice guidance and one-touch access to closed captioning enabling the visually impaired to surf their TV and movie guides.
To bring this concept to life Comcast’s agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners enlisted seven-year old Emily, who has been blind since birth to share how she experiences her favourite movie, ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
Comcast and co then set out to create Emily’s vision of the film and bring it to life with puppets and sets in a series of films, starring Emily. The campaign features a five-minute documentary, a series of shorter films and a 60-second TV ad, which aired during the US broadcast of the Academy Awards.
All of the content is stored on an information rich website Emily’s Oz, which features social media links and information about Xfinity’s accessibility service, along with more on the TV platform and Comcast.
Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast's Vice President of Audience, told Adweek, “We want to create opportunities for people who love film and television but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest. By bringing the talking guide to as many people as possible, we can help to bridge that gap and make entertainment just as compelling, captivating and fun for people with a visual disability as it is for anyone else."
Comcast have taken one of the world's best loved and most iconic films to a whole new level with ‘Emily’s Oz’.
The campaign is magical, heart-warming and inspirational. The level of craft and detail that goes into creating Emily's vision is beautiful and the documentary is a stand out amongst the content in this campaign. Listening to the director and team talk about bringing Emily’s vision to life is delightful. The films are a visual feast and very thought provoking - this will definitely get people thinking about the experience of the visually impaired and drive awareness of the service.
However, it did leave me pondering how this series of films will resonate with the visually impaired?
I found it interesting that Comcast created such a rich visual feast, although I think the power of this film and campaign is the acknowledgement of an audience so often overlooked and the empowerment that this service represents.
The aim of the product is to provide viewers with visual disabilities “the freedom to independently explore thousands of TV shows and movies,” and a campaign that explores their experience through one little girl’s vision is certain to be inspiring and a welcome change.
This is all about the audience needs and providing a useful and empowering service to an audience that may otherwise be overlooked.
We talk a lot at Branded Arts Review about work that really elevates the brand in consumers minds and creates an emotional connection with the viewer, this campaign does it in spades.
It also makes you think differently about something you take for granted – your sight and pushes you to ponder the world from a different angle.
This work could easily have been very different, more expected and less creative, clearly the strategy is to really push awareness but it also aims to win people over.
Comcast has recently suffered a run of bad press in the US so these films may also help the brand to attract some good press, by demonstrating a product that places the consumers needs at the centre.
Clearly they are also hoping to win people over and judging by the social media attention and media coverage of the campaign, it is connecting with audiences and making a good impression for the brand.
This campaign and films are a beautiful tribute to the power of imagination and a wonderful demonstration of the power of branded entertainment to really create emotional connections with audiences.
I really like this work. I give it 4 stars.