Organising Committee & Ogilvy’s ‘The Mindchanger Workout’ Changes Brazilian Paralympic Perceptions

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One year out, the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics found that 90% of the Brazilians declared ‘no’ interest in the Paralympics so teamed up with Ogilvy Brazil set out to change attitudes and perceptions with an inventive, real-world hidden camera campaign called ‘The Mindchanger Workout’,


Research showed that the Brazilian public saw the Paralympics as ‘less professional and as a less thrilling competition’, so the initiative sent three Paralympians to train anonymously in regular Rio de Janiero gyms.


Hidden cameras were placed around the gymnasiums to capture people’s reactions and to amplify the footage transparently across digital and social platforms and via a PR push.


The reactions are staggering as the disdainful and quizzical looks of those watching turn to disbelief and admiration as the para-athletes go through their gruelling workouts and amaze onlookers with their abilities.


The video,



was initially posted on Rio 2016’s social media – including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.


The aim here is clear: to make Brazilians change their perspective on the event once they have seen the true greatness of Paralympic athletic prowess.


The pre- campaign insights found that even though Brazil is a superpower in Paralympic sports, 90% of the Brazilians declared no interest in the Paralympics and research also found that 79% of those  who attended to a Paralympic event at London 2012 described it as ‘life changing’.


Thus, based on the idea that if Brazilians actually saw a live Paralympic athlete perform then they would change their minds and attitudes about the Paralympics, the campaign decided to take the para-athletes to the Brazilian population,


The idea was initially to communicate directly to the event’s existing followers (those who had already expressed an interest in Rio 2016), but it worked so well that they began to spontaneously share the content and spreading the spot virally.


So a week after the video was first posted, the committee and agency rolled out three new versions with more scenes and additional testimonials to amplify the campaign further.


Ogilvy Brasil, São Paulo created the campaign and also ran its media and PR, while the production was handled by Croacia, São Paulo.


A full campaign case study video showcases the entire initiative and its results.





This admirable and clever campaign certainly changed the minds, perceptions and opinions of amny of those who saw the para-athletes in action and those who viewed the videos.


Within seven days that campaign had racked up 15m global views and was a trending topic across Brazil.


It was also covered by a raft of media outlets – including Brazil’s Globo, FOX Sports, Sportv, BBC, Huffington Post, USA Today, MARCA and The Times of IndiaLater.


Brazilian teachers even used the content to lecture about inclusion and Brazilian Senator Romário even invited one of the para-athletes in the film to discuss a bill proposal to create the National Dwarfism day.


The video itself generated more than 2m organic shares and over 100m global views.


In fact, it was the most watched ad on YouTube Brazil in September 2015.


The agency calculates that it generated a $37 return for each $1 invested.


Plus it drove 1m new fans to the Rio 2016 Facebook page.


Agency research shows that the initiative switched public perception and turned the country’s 90% lack of interest in the Paralympics to 96% positive sentiment.


Indeed, not only did it amaze Brazilians, who started sharing the film and endorsing its message, the initiative scooped up awards at Cannes 2016.


But sadly, as is all too evident but the disappointing ticket sales and empty seats at the venues, even this great initiative couldn’t fill the stadiums for the Rio Paralympics.




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