The five Olympic rings are being replaced by the three Paralympic agitos as the London 2012 Games prepare for new venues, world records and athletes, including 1,800 wheelchair users, 22 assistance dogs, and 293 buses converted for extra wide access.
This will be the biggest Paralympics in history, with 4,200 Paralympians from 165 nations competing in sports ranging from wheelchair racing, athletics, and blind football to wheelchair rugby.
"We are seeing the nation really embracing the Paralympics, buying tickets and putting us on the way to being the first sold-out Paralympics and showing a huge amount of interest in Paralympics GB," said Paralympics GB's chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.
Paralympics TV broadcaster Channel 4 is offering packages of eight-ten spots, including both daytime and prime. “We think that the Paralympics will perform strongly from a viewing standpoint, so it is a smart buy,” said Adrian English, head of media investment at agency Carat.
Tesco, Apple and Google are among 50 non-Olympic-sponsor brands who have bought ad packages for Channel 4's coverage, joined by Auto Trader, Aviva, B&Q, Colgate, Comet, Gocompare.com, Kellogg, Land Rover, Mars, Renault, Tropicana and Volvo.
The outdoor sector has seen an increase of thirty percent in media spend including billboards, posters, taxis, buses and the London Underground for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, and by September’s end, is expected to realize its largest year-on-year surge ever. Channel 4 has upped its spend on outdoor by fifty percent.
"Non-sponsors like Nike have used Westfield Stratford City's digital screens to showcase their products to the millions passing through during this period," said Jason Cotterrell, country director for CBS Outdoor UK. "Overall, the Games have been an excellent back drop to showcase outdoor advertising ... but it would also be true to say that we have seen Olympic avoidance from some advertisers that we would normally expect to see in July and August."
Industry sources pick Nike as the biggest spending non-official advertiser in the outdoor sector across both Games periods, and Sir Martin Sorrell's Group M predicts that the UK outdoor advertising sector will garner more than £920m in gross revenues this year, the largest amount since 2008 reports The Guardian.
Channel 4 is running a digital campaign across all 90 of the cross-track projectors on the London Underground to keep commuters up-to-date with medal tallies and breaking news.
The Paralympics began with a group of British World War II veterans in 1948 and has grown to include six categories for competition: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, visually impaired, and Les Autres, which include dwarfism, multiple sclerosis, and congenital deformities.
The name derives from the Greek παρά, pará (alongside) and is a portmanteau for paraplegic and Olympic. In 2001 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) signed an agreement binding host cities to mange both Games – effective through the 2012 Summer Olympics and extended to the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics.
The opening ceremony, dubbed "Enlightenment," will showcase the best of that historical period when "reason, science, philosophy and art were applied to looking at the world as it really is and, through that, gaining some sense of empowerment over it," according to co-directors, Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, and Kim Gavin's "Festival of Flame" closing ceremony brings rock band Coldplay center stage.
"This Paralympics has the potential to change the perceptions of non-disabled people and make them think, feel and behave a little differently," said Hollingsworth. "I'm sure that it will help people focus on ability, not disability; on what people can do, not what they can't."