School of Rio follows a series of spots created for the Rugby World Cup, in which Whitehall attempted to learn how to play rugby with help from Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio (Dallaglio is a founding partner of BBH Sport, the agency’s specialist sports division).
The new campaign was introduced last night with a 90-second film that sees Whitehall ditch Dallaglio and Johnson for Sir Steve Redgrave to learn about the Olympic and Paralympic Games:
A further five films show Whitehall trying his hand at various sports with Team GB medallists – in the three released so far, he goes cycling with Bradley Wiggins and Becky James, has a rowing session with Redgrave and Helen Glover and steps in the ring with boxers Katie Taylor and Joe Ward. (The other two, which have yet to be released, will see Whitehall go swimming with Ellie Simmonds and Susie Rodgers and try out dressage with Lee Pearson and Natasha Baker).
Whitehall puts in a great performance, poking gentle fun at athletes before being schooled by them in training sessions. Wiggins and Redgrave are amusing to watch too, remaining straight-faced and unimpressed as Whitehall teases Wiggins about his physique and berates a team of rowers while acting as coxswain.
Films are fun to watch and offer a more light-hearted alternative to the sentimental spots being released by brands in the run up to the Games – including Samsung’s own The Anthem, which combines lines from various national anthems:
They were directed by Gabe Turner and you can watch all of them online here.