2022 Winner

Canadian Down Syndrome Society

The Mindsets Paper


SilverResearch Mastery

The culture of fitness has taught us we can do anything, but people with Down syndrome are told the exact opposite. Fitness isn’t something we encourage or emphasize for the Down syndrome community. Due to decreased muscle tone and hyper flexibility in their joints, we underestimate what they can accomplish.

Despite this, anecdotal cases have clearly demonstrated that fitness helps people with Down syndrome become not only physically stronger, but mentally stronger too - a potentially ground-breaking connection that could empower the community. But there continues to be a lack of knowledge and lingering misperceptions about the effects of fitness on Down syndrome - in particular among doctors and parents who actively discourage fitness rather than encouraging it.

This left the Canadian Down Syndrome Society with two key objectives in mind: prove the powerful effects of fitness through data, so it can be encouraged by doctors and parents within the community; and drive widespread awareness of the importance of fitness for people with Down syndrome.

Fitness holds the power to help improve cognition for people with Down syndrome, but they are
often discouraged from participating.

Introducing The Mindsets Paper, a globally unprecedented study to prove the link between exercise
and cognition for the Down syndrome community.

They launched on World Down Syndrome Day, recruiting individuals with Down syndrome, with the goal of tracking the impact of physical activity on their cognitive abilities, on a scale that’s never been done before. They partnered with Dr. Dan Gordon, Paralympian and Associate Professor in Cardiorespiratory Exercise Physiology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) to lead the research study, and Dr. Henry Mahncke and his team at BrainHQ to aid them in selecting the appropriate cognitive tests. To precisely measure the impact of exercise on their abilities, researchers recorded standard physical and cognitive assessments
at the beginning and end of the study.

With only $5,000 in media, they had to find a cost-friendly avenue to recruit the Down syndrome community. They launched a social video showcasing the barriers people with Down syndrome experience when it comes to fitness and encouraging recruitment for the study. They then reached out to over 50 influencers in the Down syndrome community, including content creators, parents, and other key advocacy groups, asking them to share the campaign. This helped their recruitment efforts reach an international scale.

To learn more about the study, their audience was driven to cdss.ca/mindsets, which was built to be informative and inviting to encourage involvement. They then screened potential participants both with physical and cognitive tests, including doctor confirmation, to ensure they could complete the required tasks. Once qualified participants were approved, they were randomly placed in one of four cohorts to meet the study’s requirements. Participants were then provided a Fitbit to record their physical activity and access to the Mindsets app where they could record cognitive exercises after completing their physical activity. The app also connects research coordinators with study participants to motivate and keep them on track. Regular communication between the research team and the participants, through the app, answered any questions, and sent encouraging Coach Chris videos to maintain engagement over the eight-week study.

The Mindsets Paper achieved global reach. ROI is incalculable, but on a cost per impression basis, the campaign achieved 36,000 impressions per $ spent. 200 eligible participants were recruited from 4 different continents, successfully achieving their research goal of becoming the first ever, statistically-significant study on exercise and cognition within the Down syndrome community. After only 8 weeks, initial data has showed life-changing improvements across the following metrics: 89% improvement in cognitive tests, a statistically significant improvement; 63% reported improvements in verbal communication; 50% reported improvements in numeracy skills; 75% reported improvements in self confidence; 63% reported improvements in reading ability; and 64% reported improvements in day-to-day life.

With a small media budget of only $5,000, they achieved 180M media impressions and 1.6M video views across their social media channels.

The completed research study will be shared at world-renowned conferences and in accredited
medical journals later in 2022 to ensure physical activity becomes a prescribed therapy for
people with Down syndrome.

TBCClient: Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Chair: Ed Casagrande
Interim Executive Director: Laura LaChance
Marketing & Communications Manager: Kristen Halpen
Board Member: Ben Tarr

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officers: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts
Executive Creative Director: Andrew MacPhee
Associate Creative Director: Michael Morelli
Associate Creative Director: Marty Hoefkes
Copywriter: Jon Dawe
Art Director: Jerry Yang
Chief Strategy Officer: Shelley Brown
Director of Strategy: Eryn LeMesurier
Strategy Coordinator: Audrey Zink
VP, Managing Director: Tim Welsh
Group Account Director: Blake Connolly
Account Supervisor: Ilaria Ragno
Agency Producer: Adriana Laborde
Project Manager: Cori Pettit
Production Artist: Douglas Hayter
Senior Production Artist: Jesse Reid-Smith
Proofreader: Jayne Heaton
Production Artist: Dominic Pimpare

Research Chair, Associate Professor: Dan Gordan
Research Assistant: Vivian Merzbach

Posit science/BrainHQ:
Co-Founder: Jeff Zimman
CEO: Dr. Henry Mahncke
Mouna Attarha

PR: Glossy
Shannon Stephaniuk

Production Company: Fuelcontent
Director: Scott Drucker
Director of Photography: Scott Drucker
Camera Operator: Scott Drucker & Chet Tilokani
Photographer: Chet Tilokani

Editing House: Radar
Editor: Jon Garofalo

Audio House: Grayson Music Group
Audio Producer: Kelly McCluskey
Director: Mark Domitric
Engineer: Brian Bernard
Music Supervisor: Rich Hamilton

App design: Bliss Interactive
Thomas Colliers
Head of Project Management: Joni Allert

For submission inquiries, please contact Clare O'Brien at cobrien@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.