In some countries, the number of babies born with Down syndrome each year is approaching zero. As the size of the community dwindles, so does its voice and its ability to secure funding and support for education, housing and jobs.
So who better to protect an endangered person than the same people who protect endangered species? The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has applied to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (the Canadian organization that manages the country’s list of threatened species) to place people with Down syndrome on the list. Ostensibly, that would make them eligible for not only the same protections but also the awareness campaigns and investment of tax dollars that endangered species receive.
The spots from FCB Canada feature people with Down syndrome dressed in colorful paper costumes of endangered animals—a polar bear, lion, panda and rhino, and a 6-month-old baby in sea turtle garb.
The campaign also includes interviews with parents of children with Down syndrome and interviews with experts in the field. Posters, billboards and digital pre-roll videos direct viewers to EndangeredSyndrome.com, where supporters can sign an online petition. An environmental lawyer is also drafting a letter of application to the IUCN, which will be presented to the United Nations on World Down syndrome Day next March, in an effort to raise awareness about funding issues.
Previously, FCB Canada created the award-winning “Down Syndrome Answers” campaign for CDSS, which presented people with Down syndrome answering frequently asked questions in Google search results. It was followed by “Anything But Sorry,” which redefined the “worst” word to say to someone with a child with Down syndrome.