Top Spot of the Week: Microsoft, McCann London Harness Power of Technology, Music To Help Injured Vets Take Part In The Invictus Games

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Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

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Microsoft, in partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation and McCann London, used the power of technology to create a new way for more wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in the Invictus Games. Not through playing sport--rather, through playing music.  

In recognition of the fact that many may be unable to compete as athletes in the Games, the team invited a group of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to create an anthem for the Invictus Games The Hague 2022.

The “Anthem For All” initiative uses bespoke technology to enable wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to play instruments that they would otherwise be unable to play in order to compose a truly inclusive anthem for the Invictus Games The Hague 2022, which was played during every medals ceremony at this year’s Games in The Hague, Netherlands, April 16-22. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’, chosen as an embodiment of the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick service personnel.

Working in collaboration with Microsoft’s Hands-Free Technology Lab in San Francisco, the project team adapted existing tech and created bespoke solutions to suit the varied abilities of the participants. Utilizing Xbox adaptive controllers and Gaze eye tracking technology, the team assembled an orchestra of instruments that could be played with limited hand mobility or even eye movement, restoring a part of them that had previously been taken away by their injuries.  

The musicians were backed by the Invictus Games Choir, themselves all wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans also.

The campaign features Private Karl Hinett and Lance Corporal Emma Lumb who are introduced to audiences through this short film directed by Michelle Coomber via Irresistible Films. Chronicling the project, this short uncovers the journey that the participants went through, from their life in service to their life after injury, to finally being able to play music again.

Hinett talks movingly about his hands being so badly damaged that playing the guitar again became impossible. But with the adapted technology he was able to rediscover his love for the instrument and contribute to the anthem’s creation.

Lumb talks about how injuries she sustained led to her becoming tetraplegic and watch as she’s now able to play the tubular bells with just a flick of her eyes. Under the guidance of music director Davy Williamson and with a group of other wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, the anthem was recorded at the world-famous Metropolis Studios in London and revealed at The Games.

In collaboration with McCann New York, the campaign will have even wider reach with the full website experience later this year which will dive deeper into how Microsoft accessible technologies helped Hinett and Lumb recapture their love for music after trauma took it away from them. There will also be an opportunity for users to try out the technologies and make music of their own.

Private Hinett commented, “My injuries were so severe that I didn’t think I’d ever play guitar again. But the opportunity to take part in this project and create a new Anthem has changed that completely. Through the power of technology, I have rediscovered my love of music. And the creation of ‘Anthem For All’ means we’ll forever be a part of the Invictus Games.”

Sanjiv Mistry, executive creative director, McCann London, said, “It’s only fitting that such an inclusive, inspirational organization as The Invictus Games gets an anthem that lives and breathes those values. To help make this happen, it needed not just cutting-edge tech, but some incredible people at the heart of it.   From the moment Karl and Emma came forward they’ve shown nothing but bravery, openness and enthusiasm to be involved in such a landmark creation.”

Momentum Worldwide negotiated and ran the partnership between Microsoft and the Invictus Games. Momentum also delivered the musical direction and creative technology in partnership with Microsoft to create the anthem and enable veteran participation.

Credits

Client Microsoft in partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation Agency McCann London Rob Doubal, Laurence Thompson, chief creative officers/co-presidents; Jamie Mietz, Mistry Sanjiv, executive creative directors; Richard Holmes, Zac Ellis, Simon Lotze, creative directors; Rose Van Orden, strategy director; Christie Alec, executive producer (Craft Worldwide London); Ryan Alagar, sr. producer (Craft Worldwide London); Sergio Lopez, chief production officer (Craft). Production Irresistible Films Michelle Coomber, director; Jake Hafer, head of production/lead producer; Davy Williamson, musical direction & creative technology (Momentum Worldwide); Charlie Richardson, creative tehnology producer; (Momentum Worldwide); Jack Osborn, creative technologist (Momentum Worldwide); 

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