Sky and DDB’s Olympic campaign takes us inside the athletes’ minds

When we interviewed Andy Fackrell, DDB’s new executive creative director, in the latest edition of NZ Marketing, he said we could probably expect fewer gags and more visual storytelling to come out of the agency in the next few months. And its impressive campaign to promote the Olympic coverage on Sky, a brand that’s well-renowned for taking a humorous approach to its marketing efforts, ticks both of those boxes.

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

This is the first piece of work on the Sky account for DDB’s creative director Chris Schofield so he was pretty stoked to get the Olympics brief. He says the Games are always held up as the pinnacle of sporting greatness, but rather than exclusively focus on the winning or the physical prowess, he says the angle of this campaign is around inspiration, sporting psychology and the subtleties, nuances and “micro moments” of each discipline.

Unlike the previous broadcasters, which offered limited coverage and highlights, Sky has five dedicated channels showing all the action from London, so Schofield says the three ads aim to show the benefits of subscribing.

“Like Sky’s offering, the campaign is all about complete coverage,” he says, which is where the ‘Every Moment is Gold’ tagline comes from. He says there was a fair bit of research required to ensure the campaign hit the mark, with copywriter/art director team Ashwin Gopal and Tim Yates sifting through the likes of Michael Phelps’ biography to get some insights into the athletes’ minds as they’re competing, or to find out small but important details like rowing being the only sport where you’re facing the start line during the race.

The narration (if the voiceover sounds familiar, it’s because it’s Brian Cox, who has starred in the Bourne movies and Deadwood) is quite poetic, he says, so they tried to make the visual elements a “nice complement to what was being said”. “Camera-nerd” Greg Wood of Exit Films “shot the living daylights out of it” on a range of different cameras including a slow-motion Phantom, and all the athletes featured are locals. But due to a weird rule from the International Olympic Committee that says the faces of athletes competing at the games can’t be seen in any advertising for a few weeks either side of the games (Visa has used Valerie Adams for a campaign, but that might not be allowed to show during this period), the top Kiwi Olympic athletes who were involved in the shoot had to be unidentifiable.

The only improvement we could suggest would be to have Spandau Ballet’s epic self-help tune ‘Gold’ playing in the background.

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Client: SKY TV

Client contact: Mike Watson

Agency: DDB

Executive Creative Director: Andy Fackrell

Creative Director: Chris Schofield

Art Director: Tim Yates

Copywriter: Ashwin Gopal

Managing Director: Justin Mowday

Group Business Director: Nikki McKelvie

Account Director: Danielle Richards

Account Manager: Victoria Meo

Agency Executive Producer: Judy Thompson

Agency Producer: Kim Baldwinson

TV Production Company: Exit Films

Director: Greg Wood

Producer: Declan Cahill


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