Be transported into the gruelling world of Paralympians during Channel 4’s much-anticipated Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games campaign the Super. Human.

Launching a major new advertising campaign ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Channel 4 has today (14 July) revealed a new film shining a light on the blood, sweat, sacrifices and dedication of Paralympians.

Credit: Channel 4

Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young made the intoxicating three-minute piece to showcase just what it means to be a Paralympian.

ACTION

The joys, the hurt, trials and tribulations to the bruises and sheer determination: Super. Human. will leave viewers beginning for more sporting action.

“Following the last two Paralympics adverts was no small task – they exploded attitudes around disability and became a part of our National Curriculum,” highlights Lynsey Atkin, 4Creative’s executive creative director.

Unlike previous iterations of the Superhumans campaigns, this new film focuses on the fragilities and day to day struggles facing elite athletes – putting the emphasis on ‘human’ over ‘super’. 

CONCEPT

Conceived by Channel 4’s multi award-winning agency 4Creative, the film opens with Paralympian Kadeena Cox in a dream sequence facing the pressure of repeating her gold medal performances from Rio 2016. But a starting pistol shakes her out of the dream, and reality bites.

Lynsey continues: “We spotted an opportunity to present Paralympians in a way they hadn’t been shown before – by pointing a camera at the realities of their lives, and, as with any elite athlete, the sacrifices they make in pursuit of greatness. 

“Whether that’s defying medical advice, missing children’s birthdays, anxiety, repetition, getting endless blisters – collectively these choices paint a story of mental determination, not of disability.”

As well as working closely with British Paralympians, 4Creative also liaised with the International Paralympic Committee, the British Paralympics Association and Scope, all of whom provided invaluable insight and guidance in shaping the campaign.

Credit: Channel 4

In development for 18 months the campaign was filmed over two weeks in mid-May. Behind the scenes images of the film – and portraits of the athletes – were captured by Ian Treherne, a blind photographer.

INSIGHT

Credit: Channel 4

Speaking about the film, director Bradford explains: “It wasn’t the super element that spoke to me but the human stories. It’s what makes us vulnerable, but stronger too. But where we differ is where this film comes alive – the standards to which a Paralympian holds themselves to, a ruthless, grinding, obsessiveness, a tunnel vision we wouldn’t dare enter. 

“It’s another missed party, ignoring your doctor’s advice to quit, risking re-injuring an injury. To do the same thing over and over with the same result.

“Until we see them cross that finish line on the biggest stage in the world. And then we come as close as we can to understanding what it means and takes to be a Paralympian.”

Channel 4 has already announced its most ambitious ever plans for coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including a multi-location studio format and an all-star presenting team for the forthcoming Games.

The advert is set to be aired this Friday 16 July 2021 across all broadcast channels before 9pm. Let us know what you think about the advert using #SuperHuman