Allianz Olympics campaign helps athletes with emotional support dogs

Campaign by BBDO for the insurance brand includes short film about skateboarders

Published On
Jul 13, 2021

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As Tokyo 2020 approaches, it's been a tough year for athletes trying to prepare in the pandemic, with breaks in training, enforced isolation, the prospect of having to travel to the Games without family or support (and now, likely no spectators). Global insurance company Allianz is stepping in to help, in a campaign providing Olympians and Paralympians with emotional support dogs.

The brand, which started an eight-year stint as worldwide insurance partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in January this year,  appointed BBDO New York to find a way to illustrate its message of giving "confidence" to people. The agency came up with the idea of emotional support dogs to help alleviate athletes' stress. It's providing over 50 dogs, in association with L.A. non-profit organizations Love on 4 Paws and Little Angels to athletes, starting with skateboarders training for the Olympics but moving on to become potentially open to all athletes. (BBDO has a track record of innovative dog-related creative work—as agency for Pedigree, it cames up with campaigns such as ones that invited prospective pet owners to "interview" pooches on Clubhouse  and Zoom, among others.)

The Allianz initiative is promoted by a short documentary-style film that focuses on two international skateboarders based in L.A., and the resassurance brought to them by the dogs. Brazil's Leticia Bufoni ,who qualified for Tokyo 2020, and Dashawn Jordan, who narrowly missed making the U.S. team. The pair have been conducting interactive sessions with emotional support dogs over the past few weeks. The film, directed by Jacob Rosenberg of The Reserve Label, explores the difficult year that the two have faced training in the pandemic, the stigma associated with athletes talking about mental health, their reactions to making and not making their respective Olympic teams and how their experiences with the dogs helped them. 

BBDO New York executive creative directors Betsy Decker and Marco Cignini told Creativity they chose to focus on skateboarding because it was new to the Olympics and all the athletes are first-time Olympians. "There are no coaches or fellow skateboarders that have been to the Olympics before and can help them to prepare," Cignini points out.

"A lot of athletes are training in social isolation; they are separated from their families and also their friends," adds Decker. "Leticia is living alone in L.A., for example. We thought dogs would be safe and would alleviate stress."

In another part of the campaign on social media, Australian track and field Paralympian Vanessa Low will also share her story, explaining how she trained her own dog to be an emotional support companion to help combat loneliness. And four-time Olympian, mental health advocate and dog owner Lindsey Vonn has also teamed up with Allianz as a global ambassador to shine a spotlight on mental health and share her own experiences and advice.

BBDO's Olympics campaign is part of a wider push for the Swiss company from Omnicom agencies, after the holding company was appointed in April to handle marketing. This includes raising its profile in the U.S., where it's known mainly for its airline ticket travel insurance. 


Jul 13, 2021
Client :
Agency :
BBDO-New York
Chief Creative Officer Worldwide :
David Lubars
Executive Creative Director :
Betsy Decker
Executive Creative Director :
Marco Cignini
Head of Content Operations :
Andrew Osborne
Executive Producer :
Carole McCarty
Designer :
Ray McGale
SVP Senior Director :
Lindsey Cash
Account Director :
Nathan King
Chief Strategy Officer :
Andrea Ring
VP Strategy Director :
Philip De Meulemeester
SVP Director of Production Services :
Jessica Nugent
Business Manager :
Grace Kelly
PR Agency :
Senior Vice President & Partner :
Steve Hickok
Vice President :
Pritni Sandhu
Account Supervisor :
Micaela Benedetti
Sports Marketing Agency :
GMR Marketing
Vice President :
Jeff Handler
Client Services Director :
Alexa Sunderland
Account Executive :
Tatum Cornelius
Media Agency :
Chief Strategy Officer :
Rene Coiffard
Senior Executive Activation Digital :
Eleni Pantelidou
Production Company :
The Reserve Label
Director :
Jacob Rosenberg
Executive Producer :
Ryan Slavin
Executive Producer :
Jay Pollak
Producer :
Jay Kelman
DP :
Mike Reyes
Editorial Company :
Final Cut
Editorial Company :
The Reserve Label
Executive Producer :
Sarah Roebuck
Executive Producer :
Ryan Slavin
Executive Producer :
Jay Pollak
Producer :
Peter Walker
Editor :
Chris Amos
Telecine Company :
Forager TV
Colorist :
Jacob McKee
Conform / Finish Company :
The Reserve Label
Executive Producer :
Ryan Slavin
Executive Producer :
Jay Pollak
Online Edit :
Kate D’Angelo
Composite :
Roberto Campos
Music :
Asche & Spencer
Executive Producer :
Matt Locher
Creative Director :
Thad Spencer
Audio Post :
The Reserve Label
Executive Producer :
Ryan Slavin
Executive Producer :
Jay Pollak
Sound Design / Mix :
Juan Borda
Dog Organization :
Little Angels Service Dogs
Executive Director :
Josh Drew
Training Manager :
Jen Bohan
Meet the dog :
Dog Organization :
Love On 4 paws

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