Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal disorder, a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops – both physically and mentally. A powerful, new, and ongoing initiative answers the most commonly searched questions using Google about the disorder. And according to the emotional Canadian campaign the best people to answer questions about Down Syndrome (DS) are people with Down syndrome. There are over 40 videos that cover everything from physical and intellectual development to the cause of the condition – from the most obvious one like “What is Down Syndrome”, through ones you wouldn’t probably think of like “Can a person with DS get married?”, to ones that provide us with really amusing and heartwarming answers: “Can a person with DS ride a bike?”.
The initiative titled “Down Syndrome Answers” was created by agency FCB Canada in partnership with the nonprofit Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) mainly to help parents overcome their fears concerning the genetic anomaly. Learning that an unborn child was diagnosed with Down syndrome could be a quite confusing and stressful time for parents, who are usually left with only ten days to make a decision on how to proceed with the pregnancy following the diagnosis. This often leaves them having many questions about what DS means to them and their child — When will they walk? When will they talk? How long will they live?
The series of short videos, that feature actual children and adults with Down syndrome, present curious parents with the most-asked questions and when you play the videos yourselves, you will see that there’s no one better suited to answer those questions than people living with Down syndrome. “The majority of prospective parents know very little about Down syndrome,” said Kirk Crowther, National Executive Director, Canadian Down Syndrome Society. “Doctors do their best and there are lots of websites offering the medical perspective but they typically use very clinical terms that don’t capture the emotional and human side of the Down syndrome story. We wanted to change that with ‘Down Syndrome Answers.’”
With the clips appearing as a search results whenever someone in Canada ‘googles’ those questions, the initiative was launched to coincide with the Canadian Down Syndrome Week that lasted from November 1st until November 7th. As the campaign provides honest and powerful answers to tough questions to people on both sides of the Down syndrome story, they can make a fully informed decision about their pregnancy. The project aims to “educate the public, increase understanding, and present a fair and balanced story of the developmental disability as told by people living with Down syndrome”.
“When parents get a diagnosis, they always have questions even after speaking with their doctor. At that point, they inevitably turn to Google looking for answers,” said Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Canada. “When we met with CDSS, we realized that people with Down syndrome are most qualified to provide those answers, but without a good search strategy, there’s no guarantee people will find them.”
“Just by casting real people with Down syndrome we start to dispel some misconceptions about the developmental disability,” added Jeff Hilts, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Canada. “But what will really make this campaign effective is ensuring people find the videos first when they turn to Google looking for answers.”