Olympic icons light up SS promos
Some of the world’s greatest Olympians, among them Mark Spitz, Sir Steve Redgrave and Haile Gebrselassie, have collaborated with SuperSport for their “All the Games” Olympic promotion.
The campaign will be rolled out on SuperSport from this weekend.
Production crews travelled to the US, Britain, Ethiopia and Kenya for the shoots, with the brief to tell the Olympics’ greatest stories.
In an unusual twist, SuperSport sought these stories from the mouths of Olympic heroes, lending the campaign greater depth and credibility.
“SuperSport is pulling out all stops to bring fans the best coverage ever of this great event and we therefore utilised some of the unforgettable Olympic legends to help us promote our superb offering,” explained Andre de Villiers, SuperSport’s marketing director.
These stories resonate because the champions reflect how these moments inspired, affected and influenced them.
“With a job like this we created our own brief,” said director Gareth Whitaker of production company Thackwell and Whitaker. “We were very ambitious, but the stories that unfolded were just incredible.”
Other athletes used in the campaign are Vivian Cheruiyot, three-time world champion and reigning Laureus Sports Woman of the Year, multiple Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, two-time Olympic swimming champion Kirsty Coventry, gymnastics icon Nadia Comaneci, former world record holder and Olympic champion Penny Heyns and football gold medalists Victor Ikpeba and Daniel Amokachi.
The power of the stories lies in them being told by the Olympians. Spitz, for instance, talks about Jesse Owens and Michael Phelps transcending history. Redgrave tells of watching Comaneci record a perfect “10” and Heyns recalls experiencing the glory of Thugwane’s miracle marathon triumph in 1996.
Coventry, meanwhile, shows an appreciation for Redgrave’s remarkable feats, saying “winning one gold is life-altering, but five in five Games is beyond words.”
Gebrselassie simply marvels at Usain Bolt’s 100m world record sprint and tells how it seared his consciousness.
Says Whitaker: “The Olympics isn’t just about achievement, but everything we are. The Games capture the greatest in us.”
He explained that the essence of the campaign wasn’t trick photography or even SuperSport’s traditional all-action style. “It’s just an icon and a story, albeit very special icons.”
Notwithstanding his long association with sports production, Whitaker admits he was in awe of his subjects.
“I’m not a star-struck guy, but I was star-struck with the Olympians. They all had something really special about them. It took a lot of work to get them, but it was all worth it.
“I flew to Los Angeles and hired a crew for the Spitz shoot, ironically in a building where Charlize Theron owned a penthouse. The LA crew were astonished to be working with someone like Spitz.”
He said that Comaneci was particularly helpful, despite a tornado having hit her town near Oklahoma City the day before the shoot.
Zimbabwe’s Coventry, who is based in Texas, was the model professional and even treated Whitaker to dinner.
The theme music is Coldplay’s “Fix you”.