Canadian Olympic Committee launches Tokyo brand campaign

Who: The Canadian Olympic Committee, with Camp Jefferson for creative, OMD for media, and K-72 for French language adaptation.

What: “Glory from Anywhere,” a just-released Tokyo 2020 brand campaign that spotlights Canadian Olympians as well as three non-athlete “community heroes.”

When & Where: The campaign launched Monday (June 14) and will run through the Olympics on donated TV, digital and social, print and out-of-home.

Why: The COC introduced “Be Olympic” as its brand platform in 2018. According to the COC, it is about the “intersection between Canadian and Olympic values.” Values like resiliency, bravery, determination and inspiration can lead to glory for athletes and non-athletes alike, said COC’s chief brand and commercial officer, Jacquie Ryan.

“The campaign is built on that premise—that we all have the potential for glory. It’s not restricted by age, by history, sexual orientation, experience or geography,” she said. “And that is more than winning medals and breaking records, but rather how we carry ourselves and overcome obstacles and strive to be our very best. Glory is born in the hearts of those who aspire to change the world.”

How: Camp Jefferson was asked to provide more context and storytelling about what “Be Olympic” means for all Canadians, beyond the Games’ association with athletics, said Phil Coulter, creative director at Camp Jefferson.

The campaign features 10 Canadian medal hopefuls, including sprinter Andre De Grasse, basketball player Kia Nurse and tennis player Félix Auger-Aliassime. But it also includes a firefighter, a teacher and a sexual assault survivor who became a boxing coach (the athletes and community heroes are profiled here).

The anthemic 60-second anchor video tells their backstory through a combination of narration and bold heroic visuals. “Inside all of us lives the potential for glory,” says the narrator as the ad draws to its conclusion.

“What we wanted to do was show a bunch of ways that both athletes and non-athletes have been able to achieve glory in their life, and really try to showcase the path they’ve taken to get there,” said Coulter.

“Being Olympic” doesn’t only apply to world-class athletics and winning medals, but to any Canadian who share Olympic values. “They could achieve any form of glory on their own.. It doesn’t necessarily mean a medal at the end of the day,” said Coulter. “It’s more a way of going about living and how you put the work in to do whatever it is that that you need to do in your life.”

Was this pandemic inspired? The campaign was completed and ready to go when the pandemic forced the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games, but the message has become even more relevant in the past year.

“This core message has taken on even greater significance in light of the pandemic,” said Ryan in a release introducing the campaign. “From the bravery and sacrifice of our frontline workers to the determination of Canadians just trying to get by, we are witnessing the power of resilience every day.”

And we quote: “Growing up as part of a family of athletes, I’ve learned that glory isn’t just what you do on the court, in the rink or on the field… It’s the way you carry yourself after a tough loss or a big win. I’m thrilled to be part of a campaign that both celebrates athletes who lean into these values and recognizes the inspiring Canadians who energize us in our pursuit of glory.” — Kia Nurse, member of the Canadian women’s basketball team, the first Canadian woman to play in a WNBA all-star game, and a fighter for equal pay amongst female athletes.

David Brown