2017 Winner

Canadian Down Syndrome Society

Down Syndrome Answers


GoldCause/Public Service

GoldConnection Strategy

GoldNiche Strategy

When expecting parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis, they have about 10 days to decide whether to keep the baby or not. Shell-shocked and overwhelmed, they leave the doctor’s office with a list of questions. To make it worse, when expecting parents search for answers, they’re confronted with the cold and clinical language of Down syndrome: Genetic defects. Developmental delays. Abnormality.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) realized there was a gap in information geared for expectant parents facing a diagnosis. It decided to create a campaign, with the help of FCB, that would be there for expecting parents by giving them the answers they were seeking.

Parents turn to Google with profoundly human questions about Down syndrome, but they usually only find clinical answers. The organization’s strategy was grounded in an understanding of expecting parents’ media habits who, according to Google, use search twice as much as non-parents. What’s more, parents who have received a Down syndrome diagnosis use search even more intensely. Despite accounting for just .1% of pregnant couples, they ask Google 57,000 Down syndrome-related questions every month, an astronomical volume for such a small group.

Knowing that a small group of parents was feverishly searching questions about Down syndrome drove the media strategy to reach parents in search, where they were already looking for answers. Then, using the Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends, the team identified the most Googled questions parents were asking about Down syndrome.

The data revealed that more than 20 of those questions focused on what everyday life with Down syndrome was like. Could their child ride a bike? Drive a car? Get married? The idea was to have the true experts – people living with Down syndrome every day – answer parents’ questions. With little more than a diagnosis, lots of questions and no time, we knew couples would inevitably turn to Google for answers. But rather than leaving them to the wilds of WebMD, we found a more human way to answer their very human questions.

“Down Syndrome Answers” is a series of searchable videos that respond to all of the 40 top Googled questions by having people with Down syndrome answer them directly. Launched during Canadian Down syndrome Awareness Week, the series covers everything from physical and intellectual development to the cause of the condition.

Down Syndrome Answers has so far achieved 455 million media impressions, 101% increase in organic traffic to the site (of this, more than 50% was through Google Search), 893% increase in referral traffic to Cdss.ca and 240,000 of views, all of which is significant considering there are only 25,800 of Down syndrome pregnancies in North America every year.

Brand: Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Agency: FCB Toronto
CCO: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts, Jon Flannery
AD: Simon Tuplin
CW: Peter Gardiner
Group account director: Anabella Mandel
Account executive: Joline Christiani
Producer: Judy Hamilton
VP, CSO/senior planner: Shelly Brown
Senior strategist: Eryn Lemesurier
Digital strategist: Shelagh Hartford
Production: Jigsaw Casting
Casting: Shasta Lutz
DOP: Stephen Mcloughlin
Director Elias Campbell
Editor: David Rodriguez

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.