Produced for the 2015 Super Bowl, Toyota’s How Great I Am ad follows Amy Purdy (a double-amputee and Olympic medalist) as she participates in her different life activities: jogging, snowboarding, dancing and mountain bike riding — all with the assistance of her Toyota Camry. Showing the world “how great [Purdy] is,” despite her disabilities (and with Toyota’s help) is a central theme of the commercial. Purdy shows her greatness through athleticism and gritty work ethic. Quotes from a speech by famed heavy-weight boxer Muhammad Ali, narrate these visuals, intensifying the drama of Purdy’s role. Through audio and visuals, Purdy and Ali are simultaneously “knocked down” or defeated. Viewers, in turn, see Purdy’s struggle and triumphs as a double-amputee within the context of Muhammad Ali’s history as a boxer; in order to achieve greatness, Purdy must exhibit the highest athleticism.
Does Toyota’s advertisement cast a positive or negative light on physical disability?
Through this ad, does Amy Purdy serve as a spokesperson for physically-handicapped or other disabled communities?
How does the commercial’s broadcast during the Super Bowl impact its reception? What audiences has Toyota targeted through its use of Muhammad Ali and Amy Purdy?
Is the ad’s definition of “greatness” limited to extradordinary athleticism and physicial prowess? Does the ad’s framing potentially exclude other less-physical (but equally valuable) forms of greatness?