Paralympic ceremony 'exactly right' to widen focus from Britishness

The Paralympic closing ceremony was right to focus on a wider message than just expressing 'Britishness', comms PROs have suggested.

Paralympic closing ceremony: 'Spectacular'
Paralympic closing ceremony: 'Spectacular'

Last night’s Paralympic closing ceremony saw a ‘Festival of Flame’ in which acrobatics and machinery mixed with A-list musical performances.

Suzi Lawrence, director at London Communications Agency, said that the event, which was watched by millions across the globe, got its messaging 'exactly right'.

Lawrence said that the lack of a narrative, which compared to the more UK-focused closing ceremony for the Olympic Games, was the right choice.

‘The use of machinery and the power that was demonstrated through it linked to the super-human message, and though there was no storyline everything fed into that idea of inspiration and strength that underlies the Paralympics. It also allowed people to interpret it in the way they wanted to.’

The ceremony ended a Games that have led, according to a survey by BDRC Continental and YouGov, to two in three viewers feeling more positive towards disabled people.

It also finished a summer of celebration for Britain that kicked off with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Peter Chipchase, director at John Doe, called the Kim Gavin-directed event a ‘fantastic spectacle’ and agreed with Lawrence.

‘A clear narrative wasn’t important, and that idea of Britishness has already been done in the other ceremonies. It was more about a celebrating the Paralympic movement and the idea disability is not a barrier to doing anything.’

The ceremony featured Paralympians Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock helping put out the Paralympic flame, as well as a sermon from Lance Corporal Rory Mackenzie from the Help for Heroes charity.

But while some criticised the use of US pop stars Jay Z and Rihanna alongside British band Coldplay, Chipchase defended the move.

He said: ‘More important than anything else was getting global press coverage of the closing ceremony, and what better way of bringing it to the widest audience than by introducing two of the biggest solo stars alongside one of the biggest bands?’

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