Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Return of the Superhumans

Now that I've had some time to get over my irritation (ahem) at the Brexit result, I thought it was right to post something more positive that has also come from Britain recently. Channel 4's follow up to the incredible Meet the Superhumans campaign from 2012.

For those who aren't aware, Meet the Superhumans is probably one of the greatest bits of re-framing in the last decade. Taking their coverage of the Paralympic Games in London, and turning it from a polite but mostly ignored sideshow - to an event that seemed as 'must watch' as the Olympics.

How simple but brilliant the idea still is: The Paralympics isn't about disabled people, it isn't even about disability, it's about the ability to be superhuman - to achieve and push yourself to beyond the limits of what most people believe is even possible.

How much that inspired the public to attend  is hard to quantify, but record Paralympic attendances and full capacity venues attest to a change of attitude of significant levels. It definitely made people watch though, and the daily Paralympic discussion show 'The Last Leg' was so popular that it continues on as a topical show to this day. (It's also shown here in Australia as the host is Aussie comedian Adam Hills)

Also worth watching is this amazing moment from the 2012 games,
where Paralympic Cyclist Jody Cundy is disqualified and gets
incredibly angry. Regardless of who was right - it showed the
whole audience that these games meant JUST as much to
the Paralympic team as they did to the Olympic team.
The follow up campaign arrived this week, promoting the channel's coverage of the Rio Paralympics - and it is every bit as beautifully crafted and full of the same positive attitude as the original. Reminding people that not only do Paralympians possess superhuman strength and desire, but when you look at all people with disabilities - you can see the same superhuman ability to adapt and succeed running through them too.

It may be harder to convince the British public to tune in this time around, to games in South America - but if there is any justice, the idea and the creative are great enough that Channel 4 deserves to succeed.

It's impossible not to admire the talent, the dedication and the perseverance of every single person featured in the video. There are also excellent short follow up videos that explore the individuals featured.

Rather like the excellent Nutri-Grain Unstoppable work from my former colleagues, it leaves you with a sense of possibility and a sense of wonder. A reminder that life is there waiting for you, no matter what your personal situation, no matter what may befall you along the way. When advertising and marketing campaigns can do that, it's something special - and this IS something special.

We're the Superhumans - 2016 Rio Paralympics

Meet the Superhumans - 2012 London Paralympics

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