2018 Winner

Canadian Down Syndrome Society

Anything But Sorry

FCB Canada

GoldCause/Public Service

GoldCreative Catalyst

GoldSocial/Conversational Strategy

SilverConnection Strategy

SilverEvolution Strategy: Keeping it Fresh

This year, 9,363 babies were born with Down syndrome. None of these births were celebrated. When a baby with Down syndrome is born, the first words parents hear are “I’m sorry”. This hurtful comment that implies they should be pitied. In an instant, what should be the happiest moment in a parent’s life is turned into the saddest. The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) and FCB Canada targeted the word “sorry” not only because of the damaging effect it had on parents, but because it was reflective of the stigma and unequal standing that people with Down syndrome still experience.

CDSS had a mission: to stop people from saying “I’m sorry” when reacting to the birth of a baby with Down syndrome, so no new parent has to hear those words again. These babies are deserving of the same welcome and celebration as any other newborn.

Down syndrome is a niche condition with a small community, so broader awareness of this issue was low - but anyone could potentially be a friend or family member of a couple who has a child with Down syndrome. As a charity, the CDSS had minimal media support which meant utilizing social engagement and sharing to spread their message.

With a driving insight that hurtful language can hide in the most well-meaning word, the team made “sorry” a bad word - showing that any off-colour, profanity-laden reaction is better than “Sorry.” The campaign targeted the general public, to build mass awareness that saying “sorry” to greet a baby with Down syndrome is wrong.

The team’s strategy was to challenge this behaviour by creating a platform where people with Down syndrome could address the issue themselves as the smart, happy, confident individuals they are - living lives that should be celebrated, not pitied. Without funds to buy awareness, the campaign needed to provoke the public to engage and share the organization’s message. But clichés about empowering people with disabilities are wallpaper, so it needed to be unconventional, or risk being ignored.

Research revealed that Facebook’s best performing content uses humour as an emotional trigger. This defined the strategy and radically unorthodox creative approach: edgy humour delivered by people with Down syndrome, leading to “social-first” content designed to break through and engage - while dismantling stereotypes.

Anything But Sorry, an integrated digital campaign, launched with a social video, “The S-Word”, featuring people with Down syndrome offering humorously inappropriate suggestions to welcome a baby with Down syndrome. The video debunks stereotypes of people with Down syndrome as struggling, unintelligent, and a “burden”. At the same time, docu-stories of Down syndrome families affected by the word “Sorry” were launched. The provocative nature of the S-word video made it inherently share-worthy. To increase the campaign’s reach, the team worked with the already engaged Down syndrome community to share the video more broadly. The top-30 YouTube videos containing the word sorry were targeted with first-ever language warnings. The ‘S Warnings’ featured Down syndrome talent warning viewers of the ‘inappropriate’ language they were about to hear.

To ensure that every baby born with Down syndrome was welcomed the right way, every piece drove to the “Anything but Sorry” microsite where users were given the chance to select and share more colourful welcomes that were “Anything but Sorry”. Every share welcomed one of the 9,363 Down syndrome babies born in North America this year. Using email, the team connected directly with Down syndrome parents, prompting them to “re-do” their child’s Facebook birth announcement, turning painful memories into celebratory ones.

The campaign earned 1.3 billion impressions from 106 pieces of international coverage across TV, radio and digital, including Huffington Post, Today’s Parent and all of Canada’s major news outlets. It garnered 365,000 total video views on social media, with just $1,200 CAD spent on Facebook. Engagement included 64,000 social shares including e-cards shares from microsite, video shares and news story shares, and 350% increase in school requests for educational and support material. The campaign drove a 330% increase in donations to the CDSS. The S-Word’s wide-scale social reach prompted one couple to share the video on Facebook to announce that their baby had Down syndrome, eliciting congratulations and zero Sorry’s.

Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Chair, Board of Directors: Laura LaChance
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors: Ed Casagrande
Member, Board of Directors: Ben Tarr
Member, Board of Directors: Stewart Moffatt
National Executive Director: Kirk Crowther
Communications Manager: Kaitlyn Pecson
Resource Coordinator: Carlee Reardon

FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officer: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts
Sr. Copywriter: Marty Hoefkes
Sr. Art Director: Michael Morelli
Art Director: Cody Sabatine, Gira Moin, Elma Karabegovic
Copywriter: Joseph Vernuccio
Illustrators: Sasha Ortega, Sarah Cleaver, Amanda Disanto, Sally Fung, Logan Franklin

Account Management
Chief Executive Officer: Tyler Turnbull
VP, Managing Director: Tracy Little, Ricky Jacobs
Group Account Director: Ravi Singh
Account Executive: Olivia Selbie
Director of Integrated Production: Stef Fabich
Broadcast Producer: Christine Michalejko
Chief Strategy Officer: Shelley Brown
Sr Strategic Planner: Eryn LeMesurier
Strategist: Shelagh Hartford
UX Lead: Kristy Pleckaitis
Media Planner: Zac Matheson

Project Management
Project Manager: Ashley Whitaker

Technology & Development
Director of Technology: Madara Ranawake
Front End Developer: Florian Adu-Gyamfi
QA Manager: Lina Vaisman
Jr. QA Analyst: Peter Panchine
Jr. QA Analyst: Labdhi Deliwala

Print Production
Print Producer: Bruce Ellis
Studio Manager: Shairoz Manek
Senior Production Mac Artist: Billy Mavrakakis
Production Mac Artist: Rittie Prak
Proofreader: Albert Macchiusi

Production Credits
Director: Elias Campbell
Director & DOP: Scott Drucker
DOP: Stephen Mcloughlin
Casting: Jigsaw Casting
CDC: Shasta Lutz
Editing House: Fuel Content
Executive Producer: Melissa Kahn
Editor: Chris Parkins
Assistant Editor: Joey Whitelaw
Editing House: Radar
Editor: Scott Drucker
Editor: Joële Walinga
Transfer Facility: The Vanity
Colourist: Andrew Exworth
Online Facility: Fort York
Flame Artist: Ernie Mordak
Assistant Flame Artist: Melissa Vasiliev
Producer: Armen Bunag

For registration inquiries, please contact Ben Soldinger at bsoldinger@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.