Last night's opening ceremony in Rio officially kicked off the 2016 Paralympic Games. Amongst the backdrop of colour and music was more controversy as the Brazilian president Michel Temer was booed throughout. One of the most striking parts of the ceremony was when bright lights temporarily 'blinded' the crowd to try to show spectators the reality Paralympic athletes face, forcing them to rely on other senses such as hearing.
The games are being covered by Channel 4 and their TV spot for the games caught my eye. Featuring 140 disabled people from around the world (which might be more disabled people shown in three-minutes than in all the ads ever shown on British TV). There are dancers, swimmers, gymnasts, fencers, a brass band, a rock climber and a rally driver as well as a mum, an office worker and children with prosthetic limbs. Check it out below:
Some are doing extraordinary things – from wheelchair stunts to competing in the Paralympics – while others have found extraordinary ways to do everyday tasks. The film’s aim, says 4, is to challenge negative perceptions of disability and show that disabled people from all walks of life can be just as talented and capable as those who are able-bodied. The ad is set to Sammy Davis Jr. track Yes I Can, performed throughout by a specially assembled band of disabled musicians.
Channel 4’s 2012 Superhumans spot was praised for its portrayal of disabled athletes, and the number of ads featuring disabled people has increased since – Smirnoff launched an ad featuring deaf dancer Chris Fonseca earlier this year, while Axe’s Find Your Magic campaign featured a man in a wheelchair dancing at his wedding, and in 2013 – but ads featuring disabled people remain far from the norm. Alice Tonge, creative director at 4Creative, hopes this campaign will change this and the way people think about disability as a whole.
You can check out all the latest from the Paralympic Games on Channel 4's official Paralympics website. You can also download the 'Yes I can' track here, with all profits going to the British Paralympic Association.