For some, thinking about the differently abled athletes competing in the Paralympics might elicit a faintly pitying “Good for them,” or perhaps, “How brave!” A new ad for this summer’s games, however, is offering something of a paradigm shift, one in which these same viewers might come to not only respect, but perhaps even fear the awesome intensity of these hardcore athletes.
The “Meet the Superhumans” campaign, created by Channel 4‘s in-house agency, 4Creative, presents the Paralympic athletes in do-or-die training mode. Over the pounding beat of Public Enemy’s “Harder Than You Think,” these runners, swimmers, cyclists, and other kinds of athletes are all fiercely determined, clobbering each other when the sport calls for it, and generally pushing themselves to their outermost limits. It is for this reason that the campaign considers them “more than human.”
Further intensifying the ad, scenes of the athletes with missing limbs training are interspersed with images that show how some of them got that way. We see scenes of combat, a woman receiving ultrasound results, and a horrific car accident. Once viewers understand how driven these athletes are, which the ad makes abundantly clear, the odds are they will cease pitying the athletes, and instead pity whoever has to go up against them.
According to Channel 4, official broadcaster of the Paralympic Games, the “Meet the Superhumans” campaign is the biggest it has run since its launch in 1982.