Who takes gold for Best Tokyo Olympic Ad? This one. It’s for UK’s Channel 4.

Who takes gold for Best Tokyo Olympic Ad? This one. It’s for UK’s Channel 4.

Since 2012, Channel 4 has raised the bar with its Olympic marketing. Sorry, that’s Paralympics marketing.

Such a great job they’ve been doing too. With many in the industry saying the brand’s efforts have shifted social perception around athletics amongst the disabled. High praise indeed. And, way more important than any industry award.

In this 3-minute film, you get the rare chance to feel what they go through. Not only in their training, but during their day-to-day struggles. And it’s hard. Harder than I could ever imagine. But in the end, you’re totally pumped. Wishing them 100% success. Even though they’re from the Motherland. Well, maybe Silver.

The editing is superb.

The soundtrack is cool.

The performances and talent are super real.

And, the end copy line. Well, I won’t give it away. It’s perfect. And brave (for some).

Finally, the end frame is shattering. Pure gold. It’s a joy to watch.


While I’m at it, I thought I’d also critique Olympic logos. As far as a design job goes, this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (yes, more than designing a stamp or coin). This is design immortality. Massive freaking asterisk here: if you fuck it up – you’re rightfully fucked.

First off. My all-time favourite: Mexico 1968. It’s based on traditional forms from Mexican culture as well as being 60’s pop-art kinetic typography, set the tone for the entire graphics system. I love how the rings were not just incorporated into the design but began the process. And the date, ‘68. Everything stemmed from there. All done by hand. Still holds up to this day.

Second would be Montreal, ‘76. Probably inspired by Mexico. But within the design, there’s a podium, the five rings, and the actual extended middle shape is the dimensions of a running track. Perfect. Also, the three top rings represent an M for Montreal.

Third, Calgary, ‘88. Winter Olympics. Five C’s within the icon created a snowflake. They also represented the five Olympic rings. The snowflake also created a shape of a maple leaf, the symbol of Canada.

It’s not out yet, because a special mention must go to Paris 2024. Comprising of three elements: it’s the shape of a medal. Gold of course. The Olympic flame. And Marianne, the personification of the French Republic – the lips and the hairstyle are so French.

After Paris comes LA’28. Trying to please everyone, the A morphs into 26 objects. “Los Angeles defies a singular identity, and there’s no one way to represent LA.” Er, alrighty then.

The Tokyo logo seems very official. They had a bad start too. Had to change the original design due to plagiarism. The designer of the logo for the Theatre de Liege (designed 2013) saw the Olympic logo and claimed it was a ripoff. He won, and Tokyo went back to the drawing board. An expensive project. Not sure how the new one will stand up over the years. Probably better than the Sydney logo. Good for its day, but dated quickly.

But where there are winners, there have to be losers. And that’s London 2012. Personally, I liked this identity. It’s completely different from anything before. No Tower of London, Queen, or red Double decker. The world knows London. This was an urban design. A logo for an energetic city. A brave, typographic approach. And although I didn’t see it straight away, I now can not see it. Bart Simpson. There. I’ve said it. Google it. 

Update: and the winner is… Brisbane.

So, I have until 2032 to come up with a cool logo…

I promise there won’t be a tail of a Q on one of the Olympic rings. Or a river snake. Maybe a QR code. Scan it and watch the event from your mobile.


Creative Director, nextThursday