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

Recommended articles