I don't know much about Star Wars, but when a friend strongly suggested I watch a new commercial titled "A Star Wars Experience For All," I obliged. From the start, I was confused. The ad – created by Filipino phone company Globe Telecom – begins with two young boys in the Philippines on a scavenger hunt of sorts, collecting hampers filled with random items – scrap metal, old tires, bike handles, countless old cell phones, and lots of glue and duct tape. Halfway through, the boys are seen constructing some sort of space ship (an X-wing fighter, maybe?) out of a living room chair. It's certainly not looking good to me.
Then, the doorbell rings. The eager boys open the door and thrust the little girl inside and sit her down on that slightly improved makeshift ship.
As the girl takes her seat, a Star Wars movie begins to play on the television in front of her. And that's when the ad reveals that these scrappy boys built, not just a DIY replica of their favourite ship but an immersive viewing experience. When the ship swerves, the boys rock the chair back and forth. As an explosion of dust fills the screen, a nearby squeeze bottle sprays dirt. When a light saber duel begins, the dozens of cell phone screens light up, and when the ship zooms at light speed, a cup filled with straws flies by her face.
It isn't until the movie ends, and the boys look at the girl in anticipation that I realised she is deaf. Using sign language, one boy asks, "Did you like it?"
Turns out, they spent all that time trying to provide their friend with a magical-yet-soundless experience watching Star Wars.
Mouth agape, the wide-eyed girl thanks them and does the sign for clapping. It's raising both hands in the air and twisting them back and forth, and you can bet I'm doing it, too.