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IBM Tells the Amazing Story of a Blind Distance Runner and the App That Keeps Him Going


Simon Wheatcroft has run more consecutive miles than most people could imagine walking. All despite the fact that he's blind.

A stunning new ad from IBM (from The Barbarian Group and m ss ng p eces director Tucker Walsh) tells Wheatcroft's story, focusing on how the app Runkeeper, which uses IBM's cloud computing technology to process data requests, helps him learn his routes by consistently and accurately calculating the distance he's traveled.

In this essay, Wheatcroft delves into more detail on how he does it—changes in the terrain he's feeling underfoot are a key element. But the 90-second video captures other details of his story, like bumping into signposts, bushes and traffic lights while learning a new route, but using those mishaps to memorize a clear pathway. The 83-mile number is also not arbitrary. That's the marker where he collapsed while attempting a 100-mile run, his first ever race.

It almost goes without saying that his success is more a testament to his spirit than any technology, and the vast majority of people are using Runkeeper, and the IBM cloud services behind it, in far less remarkable ways. But the relationship is definitely worth showcasing, as an extreme example of how the brand's services can make lives easier.

"IBM Cloud helps Runkeeper process 120,000 global data requests every second. Each with their own story," says the copy.

Even if that story is someone's legs turning to jelly after a measly 10 miles, the real point is, everyone starts somewhere. 

Client: IBM

Agency: The Barbarian Group
Creative Director: Adam Lau
Creative Director: Eric Burnett
Art Director: Andrew Peet
Copy Writer: Morgan Perrine
Broadcast Producer: Damon Webster / Sherri Hollander
Digital Producer: Steven Kreuch
Business Director: Roger Ramirez
Account Executive: Sophie Shrem

Production Company: m ss ng p eces
Director: Tucker Walsh
Executive Producer/Founder: Ari Kuschnir
Executive Producer/Partner: Kate Oppenheim
Executive Producer/Partner: Brian Latt
Head of Production: Dave Saltzman
Producer: Stine Moisen
DOP: Tim Sessler
Production Supervisor: Naomi Wells

Post Supervisor: Cynthia Angel

Editorial: Beast TV
Editor: Jai Shukla
Post Producer: Colleen Valentino
Assistant Editor: Sarah Germano
Flame Artist: Scott Bravo
Composer: Andy Huckvale

Sound Design: Q Department

Color: The Mill
Colorist: Fergus McCall

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