Meet-the-superhumans-224x125I'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.

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.