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Channel 4 drops ‘superhuman’ narrative in 2024 Paralympics campaign

Channel 4 drops ‘superhuman’ narrative in 2024 Paralympics campaign

Channel 4 has launched a campaign for its coverage of the Paralympic Games in Paris.

“Considering What?”, by 4Creative, is based on insight from research commissioned by Channel 4 that found 59% of people said they watch the Paralympics to “see athletes overcoming their disabilities”, compared with 37% who watch for “exciting sports competition”.

The aim was to show Paralympic competitors facing “unchangeable” elements like gravity, friction, time, wind, heat and force, so there should be no “caveats” to their athleticism and achievements.

Katie Jackson, Channel 4 chief marketing officer, said: “As we show Paralympians battling against the very real forces of our world, forces that don’t distinguish between any of us, we wanted to highlight the pure power and energy of world-class athleticism. Because, at the end of the day, sport doesn’t care about disability.”

This is the first campaign since Channel 4 won the UK broadcast rights for the London 2012 Paralympic Games that will not feature the term “superhumans” — the main theme of the broadcaster’s debut campaign to challenge attitudes around disability and sport.

Lynsey Atkin, executive creative director at 4Creative, explained: “As we moved on from ‘superhumans’, we wanted to turn the lens on the audience, done with a film stuffed full of Channel 4 irreverence and spirit.

“We owe a huge debt to Paralympians and our partners throughout the disabled community who have worked with us to bring this project to life.”

The film will debut on Channel 4 at 9pm on 12 July before the start of Celebrity Gogglebox and will also be simultaneously aired at 9pm across all of the broadcaster’s other channels.

There will be 60-, 40- and 20-second edits for social media.

Channel 4 Paralympics OOH collage

This will be accompanied by nationwide OOH activations from 12 August spotlighting Paralympic athletes. The creative “strikes through” qualifying statements about their performance.

Channel 4 has also commissioned a mural at Village Underground in Shoreditch, London, from artist Florence Burns that will show an athlete striking out the “patronising” statement.

Channel 4 Paralympics mural

‘Most accessible Games yet’

This year’s Paralympics competition is set to be “the biggest-ever broadcast” for Channel 4, with more than 1,300 hours of live sport airing across the main channel, More4, Channel 4 Streaming and Channel 4 Sport on YouTube between 28 August and 8 September.

All content will be broadcast with subtitles. Live peak-time sport on Channel 4 will have closed audio description, while live sport on More4 and Channel 4 Streaming on weekday afternoons will include BSL live signing.

The opening and closing ceremonies will be simulcast on 4Seven and Channel 4 Streaming with BSL and open descriptive commentary.

In addition, all episodes of The Last Leg and daily highlights programmes will be simulcast on 4Seven and Channel 4 Streaming with BSL live signing. Daily highlights on Channel 4 will also have live closed audio description.

Alex Mahon, CEO at Channel 4, said: “We’re incredibly proud that these will be the most accessible Games yet and that we will make the sport available across even more platforms. It means everyone can witness the soaring success and drama of these elite sports. I can guarantee that our groundbreaking presenting team will provide unprecedented fun, insights and viewpoints.”

Strictly Embargoed 1945 Thursday 11th July Paris 2024 Paralympics Presenters

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