Here's an ad that should be a show-stopper during the Oscars on Sunday night.
The beautiful 60-second spot from Comcast tells the story of Emily, a 7-year-old girl who was born blind. Comcast asked Emily to describe what she sees in her mind's eye when she watches The Wizard of Oz—and then the company built that version for her, using skilled set and puppet designers and makeup artists.
The ad goes on to explain that people with visual disabilities can get more out of watching TV with Comcast's "talking guide." Developed by the Comcast Accessibility Lab, it includes voice guidance and one-touch access to closed captioning—and is part of Comcast's commitment to helping people with disabilities enjoy entertainment.
Two-time Academy Award winner Robert Redford delivers the voiceover at the end.
The spot, which alone is a wonderful mix of palpable emotion and impeccable craft, is supported by lots of online materials that show the whole backstory. There are videos introducing Emily, showing her describe her Oz in much greater detail, and highlighting the craftsmanship that went into building the physical manifestation of what she imagines.
The website, EmilysOz.com, also offers more information about the technology behind Comcast's accessibility services.
All in all, it's one of the more beautiful campaigns of the year so far.
"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," said Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast's vice president of audience, who has been focusing on the usability of the company's products and services for people with disabilities. "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."
It's also a major creative triumph for the agency.
"We're really proud of this one," said Paul Caiozzo, executive creative director of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in New York. "It's the first big national spot to come from this office, and it's great to have this work debut on a big stage like the Oscars. It's a beautiful moment for GS&P New York."
He added: "It's not often you get to do something that feels meaningful on a level far beyond advertising. It definitely shows how entertainment truly is for everyone."
See the supporting videos below:
Senior Director, Brand Strategy and Communications: Sherri Davis
Campaign: "Emily's Oz"
Campaign Website: http://emilysoz.com
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, New York
Co-Chairmen: Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein
Executive Creative Director: Paul Caiozzo
Creative Director: Nathan Frank
Art Directors: Michael Hagos, Peter Jostrand
Copywriters: Josh Chua, Sam Dolphin
Managing Director: Nancy Reyes
Account Manager: Laura McWhorter
Assistant Account Manager: Nate Baker
Brand and Communication Strategy
Group Brand Strategy Director: Conner Huber
Brand Strategist: Jane Jun
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Judy Ybarra
Director of Broadcast Production: Tod Puckett
Executive Broadcast Producer: James Horner
Broadcast Producer: Tess Kenner
Assistant Broadcast Producer: Charlotte Dugoni
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Director of Photography: Matty Libatique
Production Designer: KK Barrett
Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer: Colleen O'Donnell
Line Producer: Emily Skinner
Editing, Finishing: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Paul Watts
Assistant Editors: Christian Oreste, Rhys Hecox
Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
Producers: Jenny Greenfield, Jen Milano
Visual Effects: A52
Lead Flame Artist: Stefan Gaillot
Computer Graphics Supervisor: Kirk Shintani
2-D Visual Effects Artists: Stefan Gaillot, Matt Sousa, Andy Bate, Enid Dalkoff, Steve Wolf, Tiffany Germann
3-D Artists: Jose Limon, Joe Paniagua, Jon Balcome, Christian Sanchez, Adam Carter, Paulo Mauro, Vivian Su
Producer: Scott Boyajan
Executive Producers: Patrick Nugent, Jennifer Sofio Hall
Telecine: Company 3
Colorists: Tim Masick, Rob Sciarratta
Executive Producer: Angela Lupo
Color Producer: Rochelle Brown
Mix: Heard City
Sound Engineers: Keith Reynaud, Jeremy Siegel
Managing Director: Gloria Pitagorsky
Senior Producer: Sasha Awn
Sound Design: Jafbox Sound
Sound Designer: Joseph Fraioli
End Treatment Graphics: Elevel Post
Animator: Jessica Gibson
Executive Producer: PJ Koll
Producer: Samantha Liss
Director: Cassie Jaye
Directors of Photography: Margaret Parus, Sertac Yildizhan
Editing Company: Main Documentary
Production Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Parker Whipple
Producers: Jenny Greenfield, Jen Milano
Editing Company: Mini Documentaries
Production Company: Elevel (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners)
Editor: Graham Willcox
Assistant Editor: Lori Arden
Producers: Carley Ridgway, Samantha Liss