Campaign: Nothing Special
Client: Special Olympics
WPP company: Grey Canada
The Special Olympics is a global non-profit organisation working to empower people with intellectual disabilities through sport and to educate people about diversity and tolerance. The charity organises sports training and events year-round and national competitions every two years.
In 2009, Grey Canada worked pro bono to create a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the organisation and to help bring in donations. The agency created print, outdoor and ambient ads that highlighted the incredible achievements of the Special Olympic athletes.
The pro bono campaign, worth around CAN$150,000, began with national newspaper and outdoor ads asking for donations with lines like “There are no special 400 lb barbells.” This was followed by street-level stunts that demonstrated what Special Olympic athletes are capable of. In one case a sign was placed on a five-foot fence that read, “Special Olympian Richard Gillis jumped this high at the 2007 Shanghai Games.”
Overall, Grey Canada helped increase the membership of Special Olympic athletes to over 32,000 as well as 10,000 volunteers coaches. The level of awareness of the organisation was heightened and the creative recognised at many local and international award shows.
WPP Board director Timothy Shriver is chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics.