The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) proudly presents its “We Are Winter” campaign, its most integrated, digitally enabled and largest brand undertaking in its history. The national video debut of “We Are Winter,” entitled Crossroads featuring Sochi medal hopefuls Kaillie Humphries, Mark McMorris and Mikaël Kingsbury, aired nationally during CBC’s coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on January 1 on CBC-TV and online at cbcsports.ca. Broadcast coverage began at 12:30 p.m. ET. Four-time Olympian and Lillehammer 1994 Olympic gold medallist, Jean-Luc Brassard, and Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic gold medallist, Steve Yzerman contributed to voice-overs.
The new campaign amassed more than 100 hours of video footage and was planned, shot and edited over a 16-month period. Canadians will recognize some of Canada’s most natural backdrops, as scenes from the Canadian Rockies, the Prairies and settings in the province of Quebec are all highlighted in the campaign. “We Are Winter” features two :60-second and four :30-second TV spots and one :15-second spot all in French and English.
“The Olympics to me, is the pinnacle of success and being able to share that journey with Canadians across the country is an incredible honour,” said Kaillie Humphries, Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medallist. “To have the opportunity to compete against the world’s best and become a back-to-back champion that’s the dream I’m chasing.”
“As a nation, we gained a tremendous amount of momentum from the Vancouver Games. Canadians and our athletes were reminded that we are a strong and confident country,” added Denny Morrison, two-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medallist. “It was an honour being asked to take part in this campaign, and it is such a cool feeling to be amongst so many other athletes who have an inherent drive to win.”
“It was important for me to be a part of this great project because I remember how inspired I was as a young boy watching so many great Canadian Olympians compete, added Charles Hamelin, two-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medallist. “The more young kids get to know us as people and athletes, the more human we become. Spreading the power of sport and uniting all Canadians is truly what this is all about.”
“This is truly an original campaign for the Canadian Olympic Team,” said Christopher Overholt, CEO and Secretary General, Canadian Olympic Committee. “The idea that our Canadian athletes will be better able to connect with fans and Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast in advance of the Sochi Games, is something that we are extremely excited about.”
Shot on location in Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City and Whistler, “We Are Winter” depicts the high-performance training regimens of Canadian athletes through the lens of critically-acclaimed Canadian director and producer, Henry Lu. The campaign also features dramatic stills of Sochi-bound athletes, captured by top Canadian photographer Chris Gordaneer from Westside Studios.
“The essence of this campaign originated from conversations with our athletes who all said the same thing: Winter defines them and defines who we are as a country,” said Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee. “We wanted to inspire Canadians by showcasing the drive, determination and grit of our athletes as they train for the Olympic Games. We wanted Canadians to really get to know our athletes and their remarkably inspiring stories. We are proud of what we have built and that we are putting a brighter spotlight on our national sporting heroes.”
In total, the campaign will show 17 of Canada’s athletes promoting 10 Olympic sports and includes seven inspiring athlete documentaries. In addition to airing the national TV debut, CBC is also the exclusive broadcaster of the :60 spot entitled MANIFESTO, voiced by Yzerman, who is also a former Detroit Red Wing Captain and current Executive Director of Canada's Men's Hockey Team.
"As the Official Broadcaster for Sochi 2014, we are delighted to be working closely with the Canadian Olympic Committee in building excitement prior to the start of the Games," said Bridget Hoffer, Executive Director Communications, Marketing and Brand, CBC. "We have been introducing Canadians to the athletes in the last few months and now the countdown is on to cheer loudly for them." <p..Twitter: Official Social Media Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.
On social media, the #WeAreWinter / #NousSommeslHiver hashtags mean the campaign is a true ‘conversation’ – an inclusion opportunity for anyone who wants to play a part - which is why the COC and Twitter have joined forces, making Twitter the official and exclusive Social Media Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.
This first ever COC social media partnership will offer opportunities to Canadian Olympic Team partners to promote Canadian Olympic tweets (from approved athlete handles and official Team handles: @CDNOlympicTeam and @OlympiqueCanada). This unprecedented partnership provides a unique opportunity to proudly share our brand campaign content with Twitter followers across the country.
Canadians will also be able to experience the campaign on the recently re-launched olympic.ca and French language olympique.ca websites, both of which are now mobile friendly. The sites include dedicated campaign pages (Olympic.ca/WeAreWinter and Olympique.ca/NousSommeslHiver), where fans and media can find all broadcast spots, seven short documentaries, and downloadable wallpapers and social media covers of campaign athletes.
The 17 athletes featured in “WE ARE WINTER” include:
Kaillie Humphries & Chelsea Valois, Bobsleigh (Calgary, AB & Zenon Park , SK);
Denny Morrison, Long Track Speed Skating (Fort St. John, BC);
Mark McMorris, Snowboard - Slopestyle (Regina, SK);
Mikaël Kingsbury, Freestyle Skiing – Moguls ( Deux-Montagnes, QC);
Roz Groenewoud, Freestyle Skiing – Halfpipe (Calgary, AB);
Charles Hamelin, Short Track Speed Skating (Sainte-Julie, QC);
François Hamelin, Short Track Speed Skating (Sainte-Julie, QC);
Alex Bilodeau, Freestyle Skiing – Moguls (Rosemère, QC);
Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Freestyle Skiing – Moguls (Montreal, QC);
Marianne St-Gelais, Short Track Speed Skating (Saint-Félicien, QC);
Sarah Reid, Skeleton (Calgary, AB);
Noah Bowman, Freestyle Skiing – Halfpipe (Calgary, AB);
Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, Figure Skating (Lively, ON & Balmertown, ON);
Alex Gough, Luge (Calgary, AB); and
Meaghan Mikkelson, Ice Hockey (St. Albert, AB).
The COC would like to thank the following media partners for ongoing support of “We Are Winter”: CBC, The Globe and Mail, Bell Media, Rogers, MLSE, Airtime Media, Cineplex Entertainment, Quebecor Media, Sun Media, NewAd, Cieslok Media, Twitter, AOL & Juice Mobile.
Proximity Canada, based in Toronto, produced this campaign and OMD Canada was responsible for its media planning and buying. North Strategic managed the PR.