World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

//  03.20.18


FCB Canada and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society launch a “S-Warnings” for World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

It’s appropriate—necessary even—to say sorry for being late, farting or taking the last slice of pizza, but the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is reminding people that it’s inappropriate to use the “S word” when a baby is born with Down syndrome.

In recognition of World Down Syndrome Awareness Day (Wednesday, March 21), the latest chapter in CDSS’s “Anything But Sorry” campaign is reminding people that every baby deserves to be celebrated. The multi-faceted campaign is highlighted by a new video called “S-Warnings,” which features people with Down syndrome explaining when it’s okay to say “sorry,” and when it’s a bad word.

“No baby should ever be welcomed with the word ‘sorry,’” says Kirk Crowther, National Executive Director of CDSS. “We want to continue to change the dialog around what it means to have Down syndrome and encourage people to welcome a baby born with Down syndrome as they would any other baby.”

The CDSS is also expanding the message beyond social video, finding digital content containing the word “sorry” and intercepting people in those environments to reinforce the same message.

Using YouTube’s data-targeting capabilities, agency partner FCB Canada identified some of the top most-viewed videos on YouTube containing the word “sorry,” and inserted pre-roll ads warning viewers that the video they are about to see contains “inappropriate” language.

The pre-roll looks and sounds like a typical language warning message, except it isn’t about the language viewers might assume, but rather the “S-Word.” These “explicit content advisories” will play before videos such as Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” as well as movie trailers, vlogger apologies, and even classic viral videos like Denver the Guilty Dog.

The campaign also targets common sites where the word sorry appears—such as, music lyrics websites and e-card sites—with customized display banners that warn readers that the content they are viewing contains the “S-word.”

CDSS also partnered with Spotify to create a branded playlist of “inappropriate” songs, surprising listeners with a playlist filled with the most explicit word of all, “sorry”—which appears in chart toppers ranging from Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” to Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry.”

All of the campaign elements direct people to, where they can view the “S-Warnings” video, learn more about Down syndrome, and learn more about how to properly speak to parents of children diagnosed or born with Down syndrome.

The campaign was created pro-bono by Toronto-based FCB Canada who partnered with CDSS in the creation of past campaigns, including the internally awarded “Down Syndrome Answers” and phase one of “Anything But Sorry.

“This campaign is very much an extension of our core idea, that sorry is a bad word when welcoming a child with Down syndrome,” says Jeff Hilts, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Canada. “But this time, we focused on a creative use of media to reinforce the message—using data to target YouTube videos and other digital content with the word sorry—to find environments where our message would be even more relevant.”

In North America, approximately one in every 781 babies will be born with Down syndrome. That’s about 9,363 births a year. CDSS is working to make sure they all get the warm welcome that every new baby deserves.

Campaign Title: Anything But Sorry: S-Warnings
Client: Canadian Down Syndrome Society

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

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officer: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts
Group Creative Director: Andrew MacPhee
Sr. Copywriter: Marty Hoefkes
Sr. Art Director: Michael Morelli
Art Director: Alisa Sera Garcia
Copywriter: Jon Frier, Morgan Wroot

Account Management
Chief Executive Officer: Tyler Turnbull
VP, Managing Director: Tracy Little, Ricky Jacobs
Group Account Director: Ravi Singh
Account Supervisor: Olivia Selbie
Director of Integrated Production: Stef Fabich
Broadcast Producer: Lorrie Zwer
Chief Strategy Officer: Shelley Brown
Planning Director: Eryn LeMesurier
Strategist: Shelagh Hartford

Project Management
Project Manager: Ashley Whitaker
Project Manager: Elizabeth Lane

Technology & Development
Director of Technology: Madara Ranawake
Front End Developer: Florian Adu-Gyamfi
Jr. QA Analyst: Peter Panchine
Sr. Manager of Analytics: Andrew Yang

Production Credits
Director & DOP: Scott Drucker
Camera: Chet Tilokani
Line Producer: Bill Hussey
Sound: Stewart McLean
Hair and Make Up: Carla McKeever
Editing House: Rooster Post Production
Executive Producer: Yumi Suyama
Editor: Chris Parkins
Assistant Editor: Joey Whitelaw

Transfer Facility: The Vanity
Colourist: Andrew Exworth

Online Facility: Fort York
Flame Artist: Andrew Rolfe
Assistant Flame Artist: Kevin Asis
Producer: Armen Bunag

Music House: Grayson Matthews / Vapor RMW

Communications Design Manager, Initiative: Kaitlin Sylvester
President, Initiative: Helen Galanis
VP of Investment, IPG Mediabrands: Bailey Wilson
VP Client Business Partner, UM: Robert Perri

Media Partners
Corus Entertainment
Spotify Canada
Bell Media