Having seen the lasting excitement around the Paralympics at London 2012, I am starting to wonder if we can put Channel 4's incredible Superhumans ad into that category.
Apparently the ad has already been rated by Trevor Beattie as already being the ad of the year.With good reason too. It is a triumphant example of what happens when great planning works together with great creative. A brilliant idea and execution that pushes a wonderful bit of thinking, reframing the Paralympics from the not quite as good follow up, to the celebration of human willpower, determination and battling adversity.
But more importantly, it looks like it has had a huge impact on public perception and interest in the games.
Looking at the time that has gone by, I honestly believe that without that piece of communication building the excitement and anticipation of the games, significantly more people would have forgotten and lost interest in them by time the post Olympic gap had finished.
Given that the public is embracing these Paralympic games like never before, this means the ad is partly responsible for the brilliant things that are taking place:
- Millions are watching paralympic sport for the first time
- Public interest is driving media interest in the Paralympics and athletes - which in turn is driving public interest
- We are seeing Paralympians not as disabled athletes, but as athletes - cheering for them and wanting them to win whilst barely registering that they have a disability.
- People are starting to understand better what you can and cannot do/say around people with disabilities, reducing the stigma and nervousness some people have
- People are increasingly respecting paralympians for their effort, drive and achievement - turning what used to be sympathy (and maybe being a little patronising) into real empathy and respect.
- The support toward paralympians is driving conversation and debate around the general treatment of those with disabilities by people and the government - hopefully being the start of long term changes to destroy disability discrimination once and for all
- Britain is leading the way for supporting disabled athletes, and other countries are noticing
So I think we can argue, Superhumans is not just a great bit of creative work with great thinking, it has been effective too, perhaps (in a way) helping to fundamentally change the treatment of those with disabilities in the UK, and influencing those abroad to do the same.