Experience a Race as the World’s Fastest Blind Sprinter

Adam&eveDDB puts 17 seconds of darkness to strong effect

The ad shows a race through the perspective of U.S athlete David Brown. Adam&eveDDB / International Paralympic Committee

LONDON—When first viewing the new ad for the International Paralympic Committee, you might think your Wi-Fi is playing up or that the video hasn’t fully buffered. That’s because for the first 17 seconds of the 48-second spot, the screen is almost entirely black.

But the darkness is deliberate and soon gives way to inspiring footage of U.S. athlete David Brown—the fastest fully blind sprinter in the world—running a 100-meter race at the Rio Paralympics in under 11 seconds, while being shadowed by his guide runner, Jerome Avery.

Agency Adam&eveDDB in London used the darkness as a powerful creative device to drum up excitement ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which are now expected to take place in 2021. It is the agency’s first work for the International Paralympic Committee since its appointment last year.

The campaign went live across the U.S. and the U.K. in late August both online and on NBC and British broadcaster Channel 4. An audio-described version has been created for people with vision impairment, along with a subtitled version for those who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.

Mat Goff, joint group CEO at Adam&eveDDB, said: “Having a brief to do something different with IPC has resulted in a piece of work we’re very proud of, and it also gave us the chance to work with David Brown and Jerome Avery, two incredibly talented athletes and inspiring humans.”

Client: International Paralympic Committee
Campaign name: Wait For The Greats
First Air Date: 24th August
Client: Craig Spence, chief brand & communications officer
Natalia Dannenberg-Spreier, head of brand and engagement
Chief creative officer: Richard Brim
Creative directors: Laura Rogers, Andre Sallowicz
Creative: Edd Gold
Agency producer: Charles Woodall
Planner: John Blight
Head of Planning: Milla McPhee
Global brand director: Polly Dedman
Account manager: Andy Billman
Business affairs: Klaudia Jozwicka
Designer/typographer: Andre Sallowicz
Producer: Charles Woodall
Editing company: Marshall Street editors
Editor: Guy Savin
Edit producer: SJ O’Mara
Post production: ETC
Post producer: Jon Purton
2D artist: Sarah Crux
Colorist: Connor Coolbear
Audio post production: factory
Audio post engineer: Jack Hallett
Audio post producer: Beth Massey / Deborah Whitfield
Soundtrack name and composer: Inspire The World (London 2012) – Daniel Pemberton.

@saramayspary sara.spary@adweek.com Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.