Paralympians send messages of hope for these challenging times

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 23, 2020

CPC and BBDO Canada release an empathetic COVID-19 PSA

A compilation photo of Priscilla Gagne, Andrea Nelson, Stefan Daniel, Bo Hedges, and Katarina Roxon.

TORONTO/OTTAWA – A new film from the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) features perspective from Paralympians on the emotional challenges surrounding COVID-19, while reassuring Canadians there is a way forward.

With the onset of the global pandemic, many Canadians found their lives changed in an instant. The new 30-second PSA, produced by partner agency BBDO Canada, captures why the fallout is an experience those with disabilities know all too well – albeit for vastly different reasons.  

“For many Canadians, the anxiety of this experience feels so acute because it seems so unprecedented,” says Martin Richard, Executive Director, Communications & Brand at the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “But in another way, many athletes with a disability have been through emotional experiences like this. Your life is dramatically changed due to circumstances beyond your control – and only you get to decide how you move forward.”

Like many brands and organizations, CPC was forced to change gears because of COVID-19. Following the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games, they quickly found a unique approach they felt confident in, says BBDO Canada Executive Creative Director Chris Booth. “Working with our client, we identified a deeper insight surrounding the emotional journey of having your life affected by disability, and how sharing those experiences can give hope and support during these times.” 

In order to create the PSA in self-isolation, BBDO Canada’s in-house production arm Ricochet worked with the athletes over email on how to maximize sound quality while recording themselves in their own homes. The narration was then paired with photography originally captured by AJ Messier for CPC at their Athletes Summit in January.

The 30-second film will be running on Canada’s Paralympic media consortium and online, in English and French, commencing April 23, 2020. BBDO Canada previously partnered with CPC for the Greatness is Rare campaign to share the extraordinary achievements of Canada’s Paralympic athletes during the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

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