Special Olympics Northern California and full- service advertising agency Barrett Hofherr are launching a new awareness campaign demonstrating how Special Olympics brings people together in ways that erase lines of division and isolation. The “Do Something Special” campaign will launch on June 23, in
conjunction with the organization’s annual flagship event, the 2023 Summer Games in
“Special Olympics NorCal reaches far beyond athletics. The power of our sports program has been a springboard that’s helped fuel other areas: empowering athlete leadership, enabling our role on school campuses to create unified school climates, and educating on inclusive health and mental wellness for people with intellectual disabilities,” said David Solo, President & CEO of Special Olympics Northern California.
“Our first major brand campaign helps redefine what it means to be ‘special’ within the Special Olympics movement and is designed to ignite momentum in our larger NorCal community. This campaign captures the joy and spirits of our inspiring athletes while opening the hearts and minds of our audiences to make inclusion a part of their everyday lives.”
The spots address the preconceived notions of what it’s like to live with an intellectual disability and feature real athletes reclaiming the word “special” as a thing of power: “Special isn’t what we are. It’s what we do.”
“The word ‘special’ has become a label that too often marginalizes when it’s meant to celebrate,” said Jamie Barrett, founder of Barrett Hofherr. “This campaign – and more specifically the athletes themselves – seeks to confront that misperception head on.”
Produced by Avocados & Coconuts, the campaign includes a 2 minute long-form video, a :30 second, :15 second, :30 second audio, 4x social videos, and a social content series. Each features actual Special Olympics NorCal athletes front-and-center as a celebration of their hard work, determination, sportsmanship, accomplishments, camaraderie and more. All footage is from sporting events in Northern California with most of the footage captured by athletes during the competitions.
The campaign not only seeks to say “Special is what we do”, it seeks to show it. In that spirit, Special Olympics NorCal is also launching “The Special Report,” a groundbreaking new interview series with professional athletes and icons, hosted by Special Olympics athletes, designed to spark conversations about life on and off the field. The web series will debut alongside the campaign, and the first two episodes feature All-Pro San Francisco 49er George Kittle and JT Marcinkowski, Major League Soccer goalkeeper for the San Jose Earthquakes.
With the support of media agency Ways & Means, the “Do Something Special” campaign will launch with donated broadcast, cinema, streaming audio, digital, OOH and social media throughout Northern California. In-kind media partners include Clear Channel, NBC, CBS, FOX, Volta, Audacy, iHeart, Spotify, ScreenVision, Silicon View, Mesa, OUTFRONT, and Twitter.
As an extension of the campaign, a content hub was created to give the public tools and information on how to engage and volunteer in this inclusive movement. For more information, visit https://www.dosomethingspecial.org.