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Case Study: Meet the Superhumans

Agency: 4creative
Client: Channel 4
Award: Black & Yellow Pencil / Film Advertising Crafts / Direction for Film Advertising, 2013

Channel 4's live broadcast of the opening ceremony on the night of August 29 2012 was watched by 11.8 million TV viewers - its largest audience in ten years. The campaign also successfully raised awareness and understanding of disability in sport and helped the London 2012 Paralympics become the first Paralympic Games to sell out. 

When Channel 4 became official broadcaster of the Paralympics, just 14% of the population said they were looking forward to the event. By the time the event closed, 64%* of the population agreed that the Paralympics were as good as the Olympics - a figure that rose to 79% among those who had watched Channel 4's Paralympics coverage. Meanwhile, 69%* of viewers said it was the first time they had made the effort to watch the Paralympics. 

Other findings underlined this attitudinal shift. By the games' end, 65%* of viewers felt Channel 4's coverage had had a favourable impact on their perceptions of people with disabilities. 82%* agreed that disabled athletes were as talented as able-bodied - 91% among those who had watched the coverage. 68% felt the coverage had had a favourable impact on their perceptions of disabled people in sport. 

Meanwhile 'Meet the Superhumans' was widely-praised for its creativity and impact winning many national and international awards including a Black Pencii, four Yellow Pencils and a Nomination at D&AD Awards 2013.

Channel 4 set out to make its coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games the biggest event in Channel 4's history and, by doing so, take Paralympic sport to another level. The end result was a powerful and striking campaign at the heart of which sat a 90-second TV ad, 'Meet the Superhumans'.

This film presented a number of Paralympians in 'do or die' training mode with reference to background stories and a climax depicting the intensity of elite sport competition set to a rousing musical soundtrack. Showing Paralympians as powerful warriors rather than people to pity was a striking break with convention.

'Meet the Superhumans' was Channel 4's biggest marketing push in 30 years. The campaign's scale plus its attitude, energy and production values helped create an unprecedented atmosphere of anticipation and excitement in the build up to the games.

The broadcaster's live broadcast of the opening ceremony was watched by 11.8 million TV viewers - its largest audience in ten years. The campaign also successfully raised awareness and understanding of disability in sport and helped the London 2012 Paralympics become the first Paralympic Games to sell out. 

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