Tom Tagholm’s Paralympic Promo Introduces the Superhumans in Defiant Style

I'm not generally a fan of sport and view the majority of advertising through a cynical gaze. All that was blown away in the face of Tom Tagholm's Meet the Superhumans promo for Channel 4's coming Paralympic Games coverage -- which got my heart racing like I'd just finished the 100 metres. Tagholm's use of Public Enemy's Harder Than You Think strikes exactly the right defiant tone that what's to come is going to be some of the most amazing physical and mental achievements humankind has ever seen.

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Despite being a project commissioned by Channel 4 for such a high profile event, the production still faced its share of challenges in terms of access and the technicalities of capturing some of the spot's most iconic shots:

We filmed at a lot of Paralympic test events which was very tricky in terms of access and how close we could get to the competitors and what sort of camera angles we could find that were new and felt special. It was a case of all the camera operators and myself keeping our eyes open at all times because there were people that we found and moments that we saw that we could have never predicted.

There’s also another slow mo shot of two wheelchair rugby chairs crashing crash in to each other. We were shooting that on Phantom cameras and knew that we had to get right in to the middle of the crash, which meant some really careful choreography and great set design. It was a really tricky balance trying to get that feeling of absolute naturalism whilst at the same time trying to get right in the heart of the action.

Tagholm's effort seems to have paid off with Meet the Superhumans premiered on 76 channels simultaneously to positive critical fanfare. It's also an all too rare example of disability being presented not as a hindrance but in terms of strength. Is this something you've done in your own work or have seen any positive examples of in other's pieces? Let us know in the comments.


The ad premiered simultaneously on 76 channels and made an enormous and immediate positive impact across press outlets and social networks.

Your Comment


Wow! Seriously impactfull and just totally the right light to cast these amazing athletes in. Thanks for posting.

August 26, 2012 at 10:58AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


It's such an inspiring, moving advert. It's also a total lesson in editing and sound design. Just beautifully made.

August 26, 2012 at 1:13PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM



GREAT piece.

August 26, 2012 at 8:05PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I was the still photographer at the swimming event they filmed at (though I'm not generally a sport photographer). The only thing I don't like about the video is that there was a 75ft long x 10ft high wall of my photos behind the diving blocks and they managed to frame them all out ;)

August 27, 2012 at 3:15AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Seriously amazing edit! So much stuff and style and coolness shown in just a little over a minute.

August 27, 2012 at 3:31AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Really great idea, music, execution and message!

August 27, 2012 at 7:47AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Its that handheld shot of the olympic stadium in the first 10s that gets me... absolutely blown away by the filmmaking and the message

August 27, 2012 at 2:32PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Absolutely fantastic.
I had to watch this a few times, as I was awed. Powerful, inspiring. Thanks for getting this up here. Fantastic message. hard time keeping an upswell of emotion from messing with my vision!
Cheers, M

September 1, 2012 at 6:31PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM