CHI&Partners celebrates control and individuality with three-part series featuring blind mixed martial arts fighter Lee Hoy
THURSDAY 25TH AUGUST: Challenger mobile network iD will today launch ‘Blind Fighter’ – the fourth in ‘Do Your Own Thing’: a series of campaigns exploring the lives of extraordinary individuals who have turned to inspirational methods to regain control over their own lives.
Launching on Facebook, ‘Blind Fighter’ is a three-part documentary examining the compelling story of Lee Hoy, a 28-year-old man in South Shields who has used mixed martial arts training to turn around his battle with blindness.
Hoy was born with congenital toxoplasmosis gondii – a parasite which damaged his retinas in the womb, meaning he was registered blind from birth. Working with CHI&Partners and iD for the three-part documentary series, Hoy explains how he grew up battling incomprehension about why he was different, and subsequently struggled with low confidence and anxiety into his adulthood, before waking up one day and deciding to take up mixed martial arts as a way of turning his life around.
In the series, Hoy describes in his own words how the sport has helped him rethink his relationship with fear, taking on his own inner demons and using self-defence as a way of building his self-confidence and self-belief.
As Hoy explains, practising mixed martial arts has taught him to “Take that negative and turn it around and think, does it matter what I can or can’t see? Fear is not real. You make fear up in your head. As long as you accept the fear and challenge it you will actually go past anything you ever thought.”
Created by Carl Storey at CHI&Partners, and directed by Ben Hanson and Simon Frost through CHI&Partners’ in-house production company Carbon, ‘Blind Fighter’ subtly navigates Hoy’s story in his own words.
In Episode 1, Hoy describes how he was picked on at school: “People would always say, ‘How can you fight if you can’t see?’”
Episode 2 explores the “guessing game” of fighting blind – with Hoy explaining how “he can’t see the punches” coming – but, once he grabs his component in the ring, “I forget I’m actually blind. Even if it’s just for five minutes, it just takes that feeling away, and you feel free.”
Episode 3 illustrates how the sport has empowered Hoy to celebrate his individuality and master his fear. “A cold fear goes down your whole spine,” he says. “But then I realise, all of it’s in your head. I was born like this, but I’m not going to let it stop us.”
His narrative is set against a backdrop of scenes in which he trains and fights – using blurred-light and silhouette techniques to reflect Hoy’s impaired vision of the scene.
Mark Bowles, Head of Marketing at iD Mobile, said: “Lee’s story is an incredibly moving, compelling narrative about what it means to turn negatives into positives and be the master of one’s own life. It powerfully captures the spirit of individuality and control that we wanted to celebrate throughout this campaign, ‘Do Your Own Thing’. We hope it resonates with audiences young and old who want to feel empowered and inspired to celebrate their individuality, rejecting a “one-size-fits-all” approach to life.”
Micky Tudor, the Creative Partner at CHI&Partners, said: “We wanted to capture the reality of life for Lee, and emphasise the struggles he goes through, which is why we’ve used techniques like blurring the picture and keeping the viewer in semi-darkness. An undercurrent of controlled energy runs throughout the series, spotlighting the strength and pride Lee has built up by facing his fears and learning to excel in this empowering sport. We hope it’s shivers-down-your-back stuff, and that it inspires people to go out there and do their own thing, too.”
iD’s ‘Do Your Own Thing’ campaign has attracted more than 19 million views since it launched on Facebook this April, with ‘Fletcher Street Riding Club’ – a series about a community group in one of Philadelphia’s roughest neighbourhoods who take to the streets on horseback, rejecting a life of crime.
‘Fletcher Street Riding Club’was followed by a four-part series on female, Muslim rap duo ‘Poetic Pilgrimage’, and then by ‘Circus’, featuring Gary Stocker – a man who gave up the mundane nine-to-five to join the circus and become a human cannonball.
‘Blind Fighter’ will launch on Facebook today with Episode 1, ‘Hitting Back’, which will be followed over the coming month by Episode 2, ‘Hard Knocks’ and Episode 3, ‘Blind Fight’.
All films in the series are available to view at the microsite idmobile.co.uk/doyourownthing
Each of the documentaries in the series was created and produced specifically for Facebook native video, using high-impact visuals to grab people’s attention as they scrolled through their newsfeeds, encouraging them to click and find out more. The campaign is supported on social media by content agency AllTogetherNow, CHI&Partners’ sister agency within The&Partnership.