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Are you Cool as a Cucumber or as Awkward as it Gets?
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Are you Cool as a Cucumber or as Awkward as it Gets?

A new ad series is gently guiding audiences into avoiding awkward situations with people with disabilities and educating viewers about correct ways of behavior and avoiding embarrassing situations during interactions. Scope, a British disability advocacy group partnered with a TV and ad firm to create these ads aimed to help non-disabled people avoid being accidentally offensive or awkward.

The series features 3 videos, spotlighting a wheelchair user, a deaf woman, and a young man missing a limb. In each video, a scenario is presented in a freeze frame while the commentator in the background sets up the scene, speaking directly to the camera. The commentator asks the audience the inevitable “what would you do in this situation” question and gives the camera 3 choices that the able-bodied person could make during the interaction with the disabled person in the scene, with one choice being the correct one. The scene then unfreezes and turns back to a live shot, with the able-bodied person making the right choice and following through to demonstrate the best way to interact with the disabled individual in the scene.

“The Awkward ‘I’ve Bent Down to a Wheelchair User, Now What?’ Situation”

The first video sets up a scenario with a wheelchair user in the workplace. The commentator presents 3 options once the freeze frame shows the man bending down to a wheelchair user: Stay as he is? Hope in her lap? Get down on his knees? Or stand up and talk to her like anyone else? The man in the scene chooses the last option, much to the praise of the commentator.

“The Awkward ‘How do I Shake a Hand that Isn’t There?’ Situation”

The second video features a man missing a limb. He walks in for a job interview and a look of panic strikes the boss’ face when it cuts to the freeze frame. The commentator presents the following choices facing the boss: Left-handed shake, chest bump, or the less common ‘job interview wave.’ The boss chooses the left-handed shake, which receives a “nice choice!” from the commentator.

“The Awkward ‘Is This Another Crushing Rejection or is She Deaf?’ Situation”

The final video is called, woman with a hearing-impairment is standing at a bar when a young man approaches her from behind. She does not respond due to her not hearing him when the frame freezes. As the commentator points out, the young man is faced with the following options: he could have a crack at sign language or just gently tap her on the arm to get her attention. The young man gently taps her on the arm to get her attention and, as the commentator puts it, “smooth!”.

You can watch all of the videos here:

Do you think this ad series will help make a difference during every day interactions for people with disabilities? Will it make an impact on non-disabled people? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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