OTTAWA, February 4, 2014 - With the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games on the horizon, Canadian sports fans are being treated to a provocative new Paralympic marketing campaign that compels viewers to look past the disabilities of Paralympic athletes - and instead fathom their complete, elite, world-class abilities.
It's not what's missing, it's what's there.
Bold, formidable, energetic. 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 TV campaign is conceived and produced by BBDO Toronto.
Campaign elements can be viewed and shared on the Paralympic.ca website, YouTube Channel, Twitter and Facebook.
Broadcasters can access the high resolution PSA spots by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"This campaign is an awesome opportunity to increase awareness and demonstrate what we as Paralympic athletes are capable of," said cross country skier and biathlete Mark Arendz. "I'm so proud to be a part of this project and I hope it will inspire Canadians to follow Team Canada and cheer for us when we compete in Sochi next month."
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will be held March 7 to 16. Canada will compete in all six sports on the program: para-snowboard, para-alpine skiing, para-Nordic skiing, biathlon, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
The campaign also features print and digital ads that features household names and up and coming athletes. Sample print ads can be downloaded at paralympic.ca/multimedia.
Fourteen featured athletes in the "What's There" print campaign include para-snowboarders Michelle Salt (Calgary, Alta.) and Tyler Mosher (Whistler, B.C.); sledge hockey players Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) and Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.); para-alpine skiers Josh Dueck (Kimberley, B.C.) and Kimberly Joines (Rossland, B.C.); para-Nordic skiers Mark Arendz (Hartsville, P.E.I.), Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) and guide Erik Carleton (Canmore, Alta.); and Team Canada's wheelchair curling team of Sonja Gaudet (Vernon, B.C., Ina Forrest (Armstrong, B.C.), Jim Armstrong (Cambridge, Ont.), Dennis Thiessen (Sanford, Man.) and Mark Ideson (London, Ont.).
"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 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.
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.
WATCH: With 100 days to go to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) unveiled an unprecedented, fully accessible broadcast and electronic media plans for the most comprehensive coverage ever offered in Canada for a Paralympic Games - more than 65 hours of broadcast, up to 350 hours of digital streaming, and rights free news access highlights connecting Canadians via multi platforms. CPC will lead the Paralympic Broadcast Consortium partners in creating coverage on five broadcast/digital platforms: CBC/Radio-Canada, Sportsnet, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), Yahoo Sports Canada and SendtoNews.
Canadian Paralympic Committee/Matthew Murnaghan
BBDO manages the communication needs of some of Canada's largest and best-known brands. BBDO Canada is a subsidiary of BBDO Worldwide, which is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company.
About the Canadian Paralympic Committee
The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca
For more information, please contact:
Manager, Media Relations and Communications
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Phone: 613-569-4333 ext. 243
Executive Director, Communications and Marketing
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Tel: 613-569-4333 ext. 224