On Monday I was privileged to play a very small part in the Toronto launch of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s new brand campaign.
Sown from the creative blood, sweat and tears of the COC’s Derek Kent, Rob Pashko and their AOR Proximity, the new campaign delivers on its promise to be athlete-centric and genuine to the movement. Many an Olympic campaign holds out the same promise – to be athlete-centric – but all too often drop the relay baton between idea and execution.
But aided by the creative brilliance of director Henry Lu (of Nike “Just Do It” fame), this is not your “father’s Canadian Olympic campaign” to bastardize another old, actually ancient, advertising tagline. The campaign is not only about the athletes, but it’s also about their intensity, passion and relentlessness to represent their country.
The campaign’s tag line, Give Your Everything, is a call to action not only for the athletes, but also for all of Canada. It’s a battle cry for the competitors to carry into London 2012 and a rallying point for the Canadian public, private sector, sport system, media and government to get behind our team.
Give Your Everything…you can smell the Nike bloodlines of Kent and Lu in this one for sure!
It’s a bold statement that clearly owes its permissibility to the success of our Canadian athletes two years ago in Vancouver. But we should not shortchange our summer athletes by even remotely suggesting they live in the shadow of our winter combatants. Across multiple sport disciplines we have athletes ranking in the Top Five worldwide, which according to the experts is the target zone for medal contention. Chef de Mission Mark Tewksbury likes the experience of our team, given the number of athletes that are headed to their second or third Games.
In less than three months, the Games will begin an ocean away from our most easterly shore. There will be no hockey. There will be no Sidney Crosby. There will be no John Furlong. Hopefully there will be no Nodar Kumaritashvili or Therese Rochette.
But there will be magic.
There will be a new beer-swilling Canuck in the image of Jon Montgomery. There will be a new dreamer in the spirit of Maëlle Ricker. There will be a demonstration of teamwork in honour of the Hamelin brothers. If tragedy does unfortunately strike, there will be a new fighter in the role of Joannie Rochette.
Read the campaign tagline again but replace “Your” with “My.” Then do it. Get to know your hometown Olympian. Check your newspaper for athlete stories in your favourite sport. Friend them on Facebook. Follow them on social media. Follow Mark Tewksbury on Twitter. Buy a shirt. Make a donation. Plant a lawn sign. Send an email. Send a cheer. Make a soundtrack. Craft a video. Plan a sendoff. Take your kids. Set your PVR. Have friends over. Put a TV next to your BBQ. Install a satellite at the cottage. Say hello to your neighbours. Make new friends in a bar. Organize an office party. Take time off. Head to London…England or Ontario.
Give Your Everything and get ready to enjoy some more Canadian Olympic magic.