This Emotional Visa Ad Celebrates a Refugee Olympic Swimmer’s Heroic Act

The company is sponsoring the first Refugee Olympic Team

Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini's journey to Rio began in the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea as she escaped the harrowing violence of the Syrian war. In 2015, she helped swim her boat to safety, pulling 17 fellow refugees behind her.

Visa's new ad, "The Swim," by BBDO in New York, highlights Mardini's journey from Syria to Berlin, where she currently trains and celebrates her courage and perseverance, then and now. 

Mardini is one of the 10 athletes on the team of refugee Olympians from Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan who will march in tonight's opening ceremonies together and compete under the Olympic flag. Visa is sponsoring each member of the refugee Olympic team as part of the 60 athletes it's supporting from the Olympic and Paralympic teams.

"The refugee Olympic athletes are inspiring the world with their incredible stories of perseverance and bravery, overcoming great odds to get to the top of their respective sports and compete on the world's stage," said Chris Curtin, chief marketing innovation and brand officer, Visa, in a statement. "These athletes … embody Visa's belief in acceptance for everyone, everywhere."


Client: Visa
Agency: BBDO New York
Title: "The Swim"

Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Michael Aimette
Creative Director: Melinda Kanipe
Creative Director: Levi Slavin
CD Art Director: Daniel Burke
CD Writer: Josh Parschauer
Group Executive Producer: Diane Hill
Music Producer: Rani Vaz
Project Manager: Erica Watts

EVP, Global Account Director: Olivia Farr
SVP, Account Director: Emily Morris
Account Manager: Stephanie Repins
Account Executive: Cam Cullman
Assistant Account Executive: Danielle Minch

SVP Group Director, Behavioral Planning: Matt Riley

Production Company: Knucklehead
Knucklehead EP: Matthew Brown
Production Company Berlin: Cobblestone FilmProduktion
Cobblestone EP :Juri Wiesner
Director: Siri Bunford
Line Producer: Matthew Brown
Director of Photography: Ben Smithard

Edit House: Whitehouse Post
Executive Producer: Lauren Hertzberg
Producer: Alejandra Alarcon
Editor: Russell Icke
Assistant Editor: Tim Quackenbush
Assistant Editor: Theo Mercado

Audio House: Heard City
Executive Producer: Gloria Pitagorsky
Producer: Talia Rodgers
Engineer: Evan Mangiamele
Producer: Sasha Awn

Telecine Company: Company 3
Telecine Artist: Tom Poole
Producer: Clare Movshon

VFX Finish Company: MPC
Executive Producer: Camilla De Biaggi
Producer: Elissa Norman
VFX Flame Supervisor: Seif Boutella
Flame Artist: Amanda Amalfi
VFX Supervisor: Bill McNamara

Music Company: Barking Owl Sound
Creative Director: Kelly Bayett
Composer:  Houston Fry
Producer: KC Dossett
Track Name: "Celebrate" :30

Sound Designer: Aaron Glascock