Ahead of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, public engagement with the event had dipped to worryingly low levels in the U.K. The success of the Games’ inclusive mission relies upon enthusiastic support from the public. freuds was tasked with bringing the Special Olympics movement to a new and wider U.K. audience.
Our strategy was to bring the faces of U.K. participants to the fore and tell their stories through the lens of critical social justice issues that resonate with national audiences. The campaign launched with a 60-second film that showcased iconic sports men and women, as well as the determination of Paralympians and Special Olympians such as Ellie Simmonds and David Weir.
After it was shared across the UK and beyond, we capitalised on the subsequent interest and secured media profiles for athletes and their families before they flew to Abu Dhabi, during the Games, and upon their return to the U.K. It was their personal stories, told across broadcast, national and regional media, that linked to a bigger inclusion debate and helped win meetings with the Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health, words of encouragement from Andy Murray and a handwritten letter from the Duke of Sussex wishing the Special Olympics GB team good luck.
freuds’ unprecedented coverage of the Special Olympics delivered 5.4bn total impressions from January to 31 March 2019, securing 10 print pieces of coverage, 621 online pieces, 28 broadcast pieces and 1.9bn impressions during the Games.