For the first time ever, athletes from Team GB, ParalympicsGB and the Special Olympics GB have joined together in an advertising campaign to tackle bias and discrimination.
Their faces are appearing on high profile outdoor advertising screens which will feature across the UK from this summer until Paris 2024.
Created and facilitated by media operator Ocean Outdoor, ‘This is What a Level Playing Field Looks Like’, uses the prism of sport to recognise the importance and contribution of everyone no matter what their ability, gender, race, sexual orientation or belief.
The six athletes are representative of national population diversity. All of them are working to make opportunities more accessible to diverse and marginalised groups. In each case, sport doesn’t discriminate, but outside of the competitive arena, the story is often quite different.
Taking part are British rower and World Cup silver medallist Kyra Edwards; Tokyo silver medallist and European champion Kye Whyte (BMX); British alpine skier and ParalympicsGB’s most decorated winter athlete Menna FitzPatrick MBE and her competition guide Katie Guest; and Special Olympians Mitchell Camp and Lily Mills who compete in track and field and tennis respectively.
A two minute advert which combines sports action footage with original photography is revealed on the iconic Piccadilly Lights in London on Monday, June 5 and will appear across other large format outdoor screens in nine cities ahead of the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin (June 17 to June 25) and until the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.
Seven thousand athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete at the Special Olympics World Games. One of the world’s largest inclusive sports events is still largely ignored by the mainstream media. To address this, for the first time ever footage from the Special Olympics World Games will appear on advertising screens in 10 cities and Ocean will host a fan zone at Westfield London for a week from June 17 sponsored by Toyota.
Ocean’s head of content and sponsorship Kevin Henry said: “This initiative uses the power of sport to speak to inclusivity, overcome prejudice and challenge the culture around marginalised groups. Our inspirational role models are the faces of a campaign to reframe conversations about fairer representation without limits.
“This important project forms part of Ocean’s partnership agreement with three of the bodies recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It underlines our commitment to upholding the objectives of the Olympic and Paralympic movements and allows us to reinforce and highlight the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion in the communities where we operate.”
Dave Clarke, CEO of ParalympicsGB, said: “As a disabled person I know how important fair representation can be to challenging perceptions and breaking down the barriers we face in our daily lives. This exciting new campaign harnesses the unique power of sport to combat discrimination wherever it exists and demonstrates the potential that lives in each and every one of us. Nothing could exemplify this more than Britain’s most successful winter athlete Menna Fitzpatrick and I am delighted she and Katie Guest feature in this powerful campaign.”
Colin Dyer, CEO for Special Olympics Great Britain, said: “The campaign will be an incredibly impactful way to shine a light on the continued fight for inclusion across all areas of society, and the role that sport and those who participate in it can play in raising awareness of key issues. I am delighted that Special Olympics GB and our athletes are able to play their part in amplifying this message – particularly with the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin just around the corner.”
Carly Hodgson, head of marketing at Team GB, said: “The diversity of Team GB is reflective of the diversity of our nation, and we are proud that our athletes and their stories resonate with fans from across Great Britain. Telling these stories is an incredibly important part of celebrating both the athlete’s achievements and inspiring the next generation. We are proud to be supporting this initiative through our partnership with Ocean Outdoor, who share these values, along with our friends at ParalympicsGB and Special Olympics GB.”
Ocean’s equality, diversity and inclusion campaign is supported by #daretodream, a social media programme using sport as a leveller to promote fair play, featuring the athletes as they prepare, train and compete in their competitions.