“We’re the Superhumans:” A Look at the 2016 Paralympic Games Ad Spot


Occasionally, a book, song, film or even an advertisement comes along that has the ability to stir something in us, to evoke a powerful emotional response. From the beginning drum roll, to the warm and affectionate tone of the music (a cover of Sammy Davis Jr’s Yes I can, sung by singer Tony Dee from his wheelchair), to the final flip of a wheelchair, Channel 4’s trailer for the 2016 Paralympic games entitled “We’re the Superhumans,” does precisely that.

Watch the ad

A follow up from the 2012 award winning advertisement,  “Meet the Superhumans,” this striking, incredibly infectious ad spot impressively shows how much excitement one can produce if you cram the talent of 140 athletes, musicians, and ordinary people with disabilities into three minutes of television. From a pilot steering an airplane with her feet, to a blind pianist, this unconventional yet powerful video is a testament to just how much those with disabilities have the ability to overcome.

Since airing back in July, according to theguardian.com, the advertisement has received millions upon millions of views (with more than 23 million people watching it on Facebook alone). So what is it about this advertisement, a mere 3 minutes long, that has made it so successful?

The idea behind the ad, as explained by Dan Brooke who oversaw the ad for Channel 4, was to portray that anyone can overcome a disability and be a superhuman; that everyday people do amazing things. It was “an unbridled celebration of ability, by both elite Paralympians and everyday people,” said Brooke. Essentially, it is meant to inspire the disability community to be more, to be a beacon of light, to shake off that “victim of circumstance” stigma.

The spot surpasses its specific marketing message by envisioning a world in which people from all walks of life can achieve fulfillment and perform to the absolute best of their ability. Potentially one of the most inclusive ads ever developed as it presents the incorporation of people with disabilities into nearly every aspect of daily life.

In a more broad sense, this is not simply the story of people without limbs who achieve great things; it’s more than that. It also tells the story of how far we have come as a society as we continue to move forward, rid ourselves of fear and contempt, about revolutionizing public attitudes to disability forever.

The Paralympics have and continue to act as a great reminder of all the adversity we can overcome with the right mindset and motivation. You better believe we at DirectCourse will be watching the games come September 7th!

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