Channel 4: Meet the superhumans

James Hamilton and Olivia Browne
Channel 4 Television


Two and a half years out from the summer of 2012, Channel 4's belief that it could deliver the biggest Paralympic Games in the sports' history seemed overly optimistic. Viewer anticipation was barely registering and attitudes towards disabled sport displayed a depressing mix of sympathy and prejudice.

Through detailed research and audience understanding, we realised that when people were watching disabled sport, they were seeing disability first and sport a distant second.

We created a campaign to flip this by focussing on the visceral power that sport has to engage audiences. Through an iterative planning and creative process, we repositioned disabled athletes as 'superhumans', both for their sporting abilities and for what they'd overcome to display them on an international stage.

And it worked. We surpassed all our audience expectations; we changed the way Britain sees disabled sport and disability; and we delivered on Channel 4's statutory remit to champion alternative voices and provide fresh perspectives.