It’s What’s There

//  02.10.14

The Winter Olympics are in full swing, but  with the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games on the horizon, BBDO Toronto has released a TV spot that compels viewers to look past the disabilities of Paralympic athletes – and instead fathom their complete, elite, world-class abilities.

In the 60-second spot, directed by David Quinn of Sons & Daughters, cross country skier and biathlete Mark Arendz tears up the trails with one arm. Snowboarder Michelle Salt carves the mountain using a prosthetic leg. And sledge hockey players Tyler McGregor and Dominic Larocque, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, dig deep for Team Canada with intensity and pride.

The campaign shows the athletes’ strength in a unique way. Using a letterbox effect, the video focuses on only a select portion of each athlete at first. It only reveals their full identities at the very end of each scene, proof to the viewer that a Paralympian can be every bit as impactful in performance as an able-bodied athlete.

“When we look at Paralympic athletes, we can make the mistake of focusing on their disabilities, instead of their extraordinary abilities,” said Simon Craig and JP Gravina, Associate Creative Directors, BBDO Toronto. “This campaign forces the viewer to see all the amazing things that make these Paralympic athletes great. To catch them in the midst of competition is an awe-inspiring experience by any definition.”

The line, “It’s not what’s missing, it’s what’s there” describes the need to look past physical differences to concentrate instead on the hard work and raw talent that these dedicated athletes bring to their sport.

“The goal is to get Canadians on the edge of their seats and excited about the upcoming Paralympic Games,” said Martin Richard, Executive Director, Communications & Marketing for the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Seeing these athletes compete at the level they do will get you hooked and we are thrilled to bring back the Paralympic excitement to Canadians with unprecedented coverage through our media consortium partners.”

With a goal of placing in the top three nations in the gold medal count, Canada will send approximately 50 athletes to compete in sledge hockey, wheelchair curling, para-Nordic skiing, biathlon, para-alpine skiing and para-snowboard.

Nomination to the Canadian Paralympic Team is ongoing. The full team will be officially unveiled at the end of February.

Client: Canadian Paralympic Committee
Agency: BBDO Toronto
SVP, Executive Creative Directors: Carlos Moreno / Peter Ignazi
Associate Creative Directors: Simon Craig / JP Gravina
Copywriter: Simon Craig
Art Director: JP Gravina
Agency Producer: Jennifer Morrison
VP, Account Director: Rebecca Flaman
Account Supervisor: Jaya Rizzi

Production House: Sons & Daughters
Director: David Quinn
Executive Producer: Liane Thomas
Line Producer: Niva Chow
Director of Photography: Gabe Langlois
Post Production House: Ricochet Post
Editor: Gord Koch
Transfer: Alter Ego
Colorist: Wade Odlum
Music & Sound: RMW Music