Campaign seeks to put people with Down Syndrome on endangered species list

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is applying to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to have the first humans included on the endangered list

The CDSS is launching its Endangered Syndrome campaign to coincide with Canadian Down Syndrome Week, which takes place from November 1-7.

It has enlisted the help of environmental lawyer Adam Chamberlain to submit a letter of application to the IUCN, making the point that with less people with Down syndrome being born (in a few countries, the number is approaching zero), the Down syndrome community has less of a voice in the world today, resulting in a lack of housing, education and funding for a community that desperately needs support.

As part of the campaign, the CDSS intends to present the application for endangered species status and a petition of the public’s support to the United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, 2019, in the hopes of starting a conversation about funding.

Supporters are asked to visit to sign a petition supporting the application and the petition, and the campaign also includes a series of videos and print ads featuring people with Down syndrome representing endangered species.

Lines like ‘A lion can roar for help. I can only ask’ and ‘Just as fierce. Just as endangered’ are designed to raise awareness of the issues they face. The campaign was created pro-bono by Toronto-based agency FCB Canada.

This fresh approach to campaigning is in keeping with other ads from the CDSS, which have tackled issues and questions around Down syndrome with humour and frankness, and – perhaps most crucially – have focused on featuring members of the Down syndrome community.

Examples of previous ads, including last year’s Anything But Sorry ad, which addresses how people should respond to parents who have just had a child with Down syndrome, are shown below:

As in these previous campaigns, the underlying message of the new work is a deeply serious one. “You may not think about it, but the reality is that people with Down syndrome face far more challenges than most of us, and they need more support than they’re getting,” says Laura LaChance, Board Chair at CDSS.

“Whether it’s underfunded support programmes for education, higher rates of unemployment, extended waitlists for appropriate housing, or even just negative public perception and stigma, the challenges faced by people with Down syndrome aren’t decreasing – they’re increasing.”

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
CCOs: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts
Group Creative Director: Andrew MacPhee
Sr Creatives: Michael Morelli, Marty Hoefkes
Creatives: Cody Sabatine, Joseph Vernuccio
Production Company: Radar
Director: Scott Drucker