LIFE OF ELLA

Short List
TitleLIFE OF ELLA
BrandSPECIAL OLYMPICS BELGIUM
Category D04. Brand Integration & Sponsorship / Partnership
Product/ServiceCHARITY
Entrant LDV UNITED Antwerp, BELGIUM
Idea Creation LDV UNITED Antwerp, BELGIUM
Additional Company TOYOTA BELGIUM Zaventem, BELGIUM
Credits
Name Company Position
Dries De Bruyn LDV United Creative Director
Dennis Vandewalle LDV United Creative Director
Dries De Wilde LDV Copywriter
Willem De Wachter LDV United Art Director

Why is this work relevant for Entertainment?

We are all used to watching sports at the highest level. Major brands sponsor teams and competitions to increase their visibility. Toyota and Special Olympics wanted to put the spotlight on athletes who usually remain unseen: those with an intellectual disability. By bringing the story of a young basketball player, the viewer taps into the well-known universe of origin stories of famous athletes. Only this one has an unexpected twist at the end.

Background

Situation Toyota wants to announce its structural partnership with Special Olympics Europe. For Special Olympics this is a huge step both in financial terms as in terms of recognition for the organisation and its athletes. Brief Show the relevancy of the partnership between both brands. Objectives Internal: create proudness with Toyota and Special Olympics employees and volunteers

Describe the creative idea

The film introduces Ella, a 9-year old basketball player. She lives for the game: she eats, sleeps and dreams basketball. We see her training 24/7, her ambition is unlimited. The film uses the typical codes of an origin story of a famous athlete, like we often see in sports commercials for big brands like Nike, Adidas or Under Armour. Ella shows extreme perseverance, ambition and dedication. Somehow her true identity stays a mystery throughout the film. At the end, there is an unexpected twist: we learn that Ella is born with an intellectual disability. This makes her story extra striking and challenges the viewer. This way Toyota and Special Olympics make a bold statement: “All Dreams Are Equal”.

Describe the strategy

Proof that both the mission of Toyota ‘start your impossible’ and the vision of Special Olympics ‘inclusion through sports’ are a perfect fit. Show that special athletes are equal to athletes without an intellectual disability by proving that their passion for sports is equally strong.

Describe the execution

The video was launched on 20 april 2020 through the owned social media channels of Toyota, and further shared by the channels of Special Olympics. Special Olympics famous athletes helped with further distribution toward their own fans and followers. Most impact and views were in the 3 weeks afterwards. The girl who plays the role of ‘Ella’ is the 14th year old Special Olympics’ athlete Alice. Alice became an instant movie star and was invited to several national prime time TV talk shows to talk about her acting performance and her passion for sports. National newspaper interviewed her too in the following weeks. No paid media was available to push the video online. All attention was gained through owned channels, (non-paid) influencers support and earned media. A nice extra: national cinema aired the video during one month in their movie theaters (free

Describe the outcome

Reach: total unique reach: 12,4 million Engagement: +60.000 special media engagements (likes/share/comments) Impact: Increased awareness for Special Olympics and its athletes, for the power of sports to bring people together (social inclusion), and improved internal and external brand image for Toyota. Unfortunately, there was no budget to track the impact on the brands. Still, not one negative comment was received about the partnership between Toyota and Special Olympics. Toyota is planning to deepen the partnership even further.