Channel 4 makes The Superhumans accessible to all

In a UK first, Channel 4 is broadcasting specially tailored subtitled and signed versions of its We’re The Superhumans advert at dedicated cinema screenings for people with hearing loss.

The initiative comes as Channel 4 launches the next phase of its Superhumans campaign, which also features posters accompanied by audio commentary of Paralympians winning gold in London 2012.

Channel 4’s ambition to make The Superhumans campaign accessible to all follows news that the trailer became the second most shared Olympics/Paralympics advert in history within a few weeks of its launch (on 15 July).

The latest phase of the broadcaster’s campaign comes as research undertaken by Channel 4 shows that 82 per cent of UK adults agree the Paralympics are important for improving society’s perceptions of disabled people. The research also showed that more than 90 per cent of people who saw the ad said it was a positive portrayal of disability. And more than 80 per cent of people who had seen the ad felt it showed disability in a new light, with this figure increasing to nearly 90 per cent for people with disabilities who took part in the survey.

The campaign has highlighted the Paralympic broadcaster’s commitment to disability and diversity issues with seven in ten people who recalled seeing the TV trailer stating that Channel 4 is the leading broadcaster in these areas. Just under 70 per cent of people who had seen the campaign felt it showed a view of disability they’d not considered before and sixty per cent agreed the campaign had positively changed their perceptions of people with disabilities.

The next phase of the marketing campaign aims to raise awareness levels even more.

As well as a nationwide poster campaign some of the marketing has been enhanced to make it accessible to people with hearing or sight loss.

The Superhumans cinema advert will display subtitles and be BSL interpreted in dedicated screenings for hard of hearing people. The advert was produced with the support from the UK national charity Action on Hearing Loss.

A selection of bus shelters in cities nationwide will feature images of ParalympicsGB’s leading athletes: Ellie Simmonds, Richard Whitehead and David Weir.

These specially adapted adverts will be accompanied by audio commentary of the featured athletes’ gold medal winning performances from the London 2012 Paralympics.

Similarly on Facebook, The Superhumans is the first campaign ever to create Facebook content that incorporates the platform’s Audio Assisted Technology (AAT) tool, providing audio description to its content for people with sight loss.

Transport for London (TfL) has teamed up with Channel 4 to provide live updates from the 2016 Rio Paralympics to Tube and Bus customers as part of a commercial partnership that will generate revenue to reinvest in the transport network. From Wednesday 7 September to Sunday 13 September, live updates about key events, highlights and Team GB results will be provided across 2,500 iBus customer information screens at bus stops and on over 1,000 digital displays at London Underground stations.

Highlights packages across Bauer radio stations will be condensed into 60-second reels summarising all the latest news from Rio across the UK’s airwaves, making the Games even more accessible across the media channel.

And in print, Channel 4 has partnered with Metro to take over its masthead, celebrating the games and their spirit of inclusiveness.

Channel 4’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Dan Brooke said: “From the outset our ambition was to make this Channel 4’s most accessible campaign ever. We want everyone to be able to share in the excitement of the Rio Paralympics and join in this wonderful celebration.

“The Paralympics and our Superhumans campaign get right to the heart of what Channel 4 stands for – championing diversity, innovation and new talent and celebrating the amazing abilities of both Paralympians and everyday people.”

Brokered and produced by OMD UK and 4creative, Channel 4’s in-house creative agency, a number of UK media owners have partnered with Channel 4 to make their Paralympics content as inclusive as possible.

James Walker, Channel 4’s Head of Marketing, said: “This exciting and ground-breaking media campaign has been a labour of love for the teams in marketing, 4creative and OMD UK. We are trying to be different at every turn to build on the success of our 2012 We are the Superhumans campaign.”

Steve Tyler, Head of Solutions, Strategy and Planning at RNIB, said: “RNIB welcomes the positive, inspirational messages accompanying the 2016 Paralympics and is pleased that Channel 4 has kept the needs of audio description users in mind for this campaign, as well as creating the specially designed audio posters at bus shelters.”

David Steadman, Executive Director for Fundraising and Marketing at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “As the UK’s leading hearing loss charity, we were very happy to support Channel 4 in the production of this advert and are very pleased with the end result. The creativity with which the channel tackled the production shows that accessible to all doesn’t need to mean boring.”


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