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Who takes Gold in the best Olympic Adverts of 2021?

13th August 2021 By Lauren Stradling
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An Olympics like no other have just finished and we wait in anticipation for the kick-off of the Paralympic Games. Like every other tournament, there has been a host of adverts from different sponsors and countries from around the world promoting their participation of the games. Controversially, this year saw Toyota – one of the Games’ main sponsors – decide at the last minute to pull its Olympic-related TV ads off air in Japan, citing lacklustre public support.

With some SERIOUS ad spend allocated to the Olympics, I’ve taken a look at some of my favourite adverts from around the world for Tokyo 2020.


‘Rukna Nahi Hai (Do not stop)’

Jindal Group – India

From the outset this video looks like another montage of people/athletes exercising in their homes during lockdown – but on closer inspection, the advert switches the narrative to position the postponing of the Games due to the pandemic as an advantage.

This trailer flips the postponement on its head and shows that athletes have made the most of the extra 365 days of training in bedrooms, terraces and courtyards to make them better athletes and to increase their chances of bringing home gold medals.

For me, this advert brings home the gold for Olympic adverts of 2021, it doesn’t shy away from the pandemic and instead sheds light on the positives that can be taken away from such a unique and challenging period in everyone’s life. Not to forget that the creators of this piece, Ogilvy India, put this trailer together in very tough lockdown conditions and all of the footage of the athletes was captured on their phones!


Super. Human.

Channel 4 Tokyo 2021 Paralympics Trailer

The Paralympics trailer is a personal favourite of mine. For the third time, Channel 4 has lived up to high expectations and have continued their ‘Super human’ theme for the Paralympics 2021. The previous two Paralympic films by Channel 4 were multi-award-winning too, so it was definitely a risk but it certainly paid off. ‘Super.Human’ was filmed over 2 weeks in May 2021 and covers the athletes perseverance and the blood, sweat and tears it takes to be a Paralympian. They wanted to grab people’s attention and have deliberately used language which has historically been used in a negative way and turn it into being owned by the Paralympians in a positive way.

The three-minute film is set to a version of ‘So You Want to be a Boxer’ from the film Bugsy Malone, by British artist Jay Prince. It then concludes by confronting viewers with the statement: “To be a Paralympian there’s got to be something wrong with you.”

Alex Brooker, co-presenter of The Last Leg, said: “For me, waiting for the Channel 4 Paralympics advert every four years is like waiting for the John Lewis Christmas advert.” Controversial, but I prefer these adverts over the John Lewis Christmas Ad hands down!


What Agnes saw

The International Olympics Committee

First of all, what an inspirational woman. Agnes Keleti is the oldest-living Olympic champion and medallist who was originally an Olympic hopeful at just 19. Not allowing her harrowing youth – she  had to flee Nazi persecution instead of competing in the Olympics – to dampen her spirits, she returned to the Olympics aged 31 to win one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. She didn’t stop there, earning a further impressive four gold medals and two silver medals at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. The IOC definitely chose the right person to front this campaign spanning the decades.

This advert shows the spectacular historic Olympic events Agnes has witnessed throughout her lifetime, topped off with the youngest-ever British Olympian, 13-year-old skateboarding Sky Brown.


Let’s go there


To promote its coverage of the games, BBC released a lively and vibrant trailer, made by BBC Creative, Nexus Studios and Factory Fifteen. The trailer aimed to promote Tokyo’s diversity using aesthetics inspired by Japanese anime and video games.

They have gone to incredible lengths to include intricate details such as Olympic signage, posters, stickers, toys and more. Apparently, there are over 50 “easter eggs” woven into this trailer and so it was broadcast multiple times on several channels each day so the creators wanted people to able to see something new each time. I’m still seeing new posters, faces and sports every time I watch it!


Glory From Anywhere

Team Canada

Team Canada’s brand campaign advert portrays the strong message that glory can come from anywhere, not matter your age, history, geography, or whether you’re a teacher or a firefighter. Glory From Anywhere highlights the accomplishments of Team Canada athletes on the road to Tokyo 2020 alongside the inspiring stories of community heroes to showcase that all everyone has the potential to reach their own Olympic glory, and elevate everyone else around them.

This is a fantastic way to use the positive energy gained from the build up to the Olympics and motivate everyday Canadians to create positive change.