TVNZ Blacksand lends its interactive storytelling knack to Paralympics campaign

TVNZ has launched its countdown to the Paralympics with a new interactive ‘Built Different’ campaign, via Blacksand, that celebrates the determination, strength and the achievements of New Zealand’s Paralympians.

The hero 90-second interactive video shows Paralympians training, competing, and achieving. During the video, hotspots appear for the audience to click on to extend the story and learn more about Paralympians Liam Malone, Sophie Pascoe, Kate Horan, Holly Robinson and Cameron Leslie.

The Wirewax software behind the hotspots has already been used in campaigns for Shortland Street and the launch of Duke, and Blacksand senior creative director Greg Hughes says both had good numbers to reflect audience interaction.

Hughes says campaigns for Olympic events can become “a little bit beige” when a piece of music is paired with beautiful shots of athletes. By using Wirewax, Blacksand was able to push the boundaries and extend the story beyond the promo.

When the audience clicks on the hotspots, they see videos of each Paralympian as they grow up and learnt to swim, run, bike and use a wheel chair. It’s this story that sparked the campaign tag line ‘Built Different’. Hughes says “It’s not just about having blades for legs, it’s about the top two inches as well and it’s what all those athletes have been through as kids, growing up and actually having to walk, and learn to walk again for some of them”.

Helping to tell those stories are the parents, who were brought into the campaign to give their take on why their kids are who they are today. From this, Hughes says the notion of being ‘built different’ came through quite strongly.

Alongside the 90-second hero video on TVNZ’s website, there are 60, 30 and 15 second videos to be rolled out on Facebook and Duke, with 10 versions appearing before the games kick off on 8 September. Since the campaign kicked off last week, it has already proved popular and Hughes hopes it will grow as the games come closer.

Attitude Live is also sharing the campaign material across its platforms after it partnered with the broadcaster to create the content. Hughes says it was Attitude Live that provided the video for each of the Paralympian’s profiles.

Blacksand also consulted with both Attitude Live and Paralympics New Zealand about the line ‘Built Different’. Hughes says it saw the potential to offend people and wanting to make sure it didn’t do that, it spoke to the organisations about how it would be received by Paralympians and their families. He says everyone was on board.

When thinking about creating something different with this campaign, Hughes says it drew inspiration from the ‘Superhuman’ campaign by the UK’s Channel 4.

For the London Paralympics, it introduced the UK to some of its country’s Paralympians and within that, gave an insight into their backgrounds and the struggles they have overcome from car crashes to war injuries.

This year, Channel 4 has wowed audiences again with its ‘We’re the Superhumans’ spot. It’s a high-budget celebration of the ability of humans to overcome disabilities to achieve what some might see as impossible. The three-minute spot is supported by additional content, telling the backstrokes of all those involved.

Closer to home, Hughes says TVNZ’s ‘Built Different’ campaign is both a celebration of the New Zealand’s Paralympians and TVNZ’s opportunity to cover the event.

There will be live and delayed coverage of the games on Duke, and highlights on TV One and OnDemand. Hughes says prior to Duke, it was difficult for TVNZ to cover events like this, but now with its new channel championing sport as part of its content mix, the Paralympics are a good fit.

With Duke only six months old, Hughes adds it will be a great opportunity for people to become aware of the channel.

In its first two months, 1.7 million New Zealanders tuned in to see what Duke had to offer.


Senior creative director: Greg Hughes

Executive creative director: Jens Hertzum

Campaign producer: Vicki Keogh

Digital production and publishing manager: Samatha Taylor

Digital producer: Gabriella Balasko

Wirewax Build: Citizen Content & Communication

Additional athlete footage: Attitude Pictures

Interviews director: Ben Alpers

Editor: Greg Hughes

Colour specialist: Guy Brinsdon

Audio engineer: Simon Weir

Graphic design: Nick Delaney & Aaron Clarke

Integration project manager: Lisa Howard

GM of marketing: Sarah Finnie

GM of content solutions: Lyndsey Francis

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