'Sorry' is a bad word to someone with a Down Syndrome baby

Canadiandigital campaign targets apology videos and songs like Justin Bieber's 'Sorry'

Published On
Mar 21, 2018

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There are many things you can apologize for--but saying sorry to someone with a Down Syndrome baby is inappropriate, says a new campaign from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society that's all based around the "S-word."

Created to mark World Down Syndrome Day (today, March 21), the campaign centers around an uplifting video starring adults with Down Syndrome, who explain that are many things you can say sorry for--like farting or taking the last slice of pizza--but apologizing because someone has a Down baby isn't one of them.

The digital strategy behind the campaign, by FCB Canada, is highly targeted, finding digital content containing the word "sorry" and intercepting people in those environments to reinforce the same message. Using YouTube's data-targeting capabilities, FCB Canada identified some of the top most-viewed videos on YouTube containing the word "sorry," and inserted pre-roll ads warning viewers that the video they are about to see contains "inappropriate" language.

The pre-roll looks and sounds like a typical language warning message, except it isn't about the language viewers might assume, but rather the "S-Word." These "explicit content advisories" will play before videos such as Justin Bieber's "Sorry" as well as movie trailers, vlogger apologies, and even classic viral videos like Denver the Guilty Dog.

The campaign also targets common sites where the word "sorry" appears--such as Dictionary.com, music lyrics websites and e-card sites--with customized display banners that warn readers that the content they are viewing contains the "S-word." CDSS also partnered with Spotify to create a branded playlist of "inappropriate" songs, all of which contain the word sorry.

All of the campaign elements direct people to AnythingButSorry.com, where they can view the "S-Warnings" video, learn more about Down syndrome, and learn more about how to properly speak to parents of children diagnosed.

The work follows CDSS's Down Syndrome Answers campaign, which aimed to answer the internet queries of worried parents, and an earlier phase of the Anything but Sorry campaign.


Mar 21, 2018
Agency :
Client :
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Client :
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Chair of Board of Directors :
Laura LaChance
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors :
Ed Casagrande
Member, Board of Directors :
Ben Tarr
National Executive Director :
Kirk Crowther
Communications Manager :
Heather Turnbull
Resource Coordinator :
Carlee Reardon
Chief Creative Officer :
Nancy Crimi-Lamanna
Chief Creative Officer :
Jeff Hilts
Group Creative Director :
Andrew MacPhee
Senior Copywriter :
Marty Hoefkes
Senior Art Director :
Michael Morelli
Art Director :
Alisa Sera Garcia
Copywriter :
Jon Frier
Copywriter :
Morgan Wroot
Chief Executive Officer :
Tyler Turnbull
Vice President, Managing Director :
Tracy Little
Vice President, Managing Director :
Ricky Jacobs
Group Account Director :
Ravi Singh
Account Supervisor :
Olivia Selbie
Director, Integrated Production :
Stef Fabich
Broadcast Producer :
Lorrie Zwer
Chief Strategy Officer :
Shelley Brown
Planning Director :
Eryn LeMesurier
Strategist :
Shelagh Hartford
Project Manager :
Ashley Whitaker
Project Manager :
Elizabeth Lane
Director, Technology :
Madara Ranawake
Front-End Developer :
Florian Adu-Gyamfi
Jr. QA Analyst :
Peter Panchine
Senior Manager of Analytics :
Andrew Yang
Director :
Scott Drucker
Director, Photography :
Scott Drucker
Assistant Camera :
Chet Tilokani
Line Producer :
Bill Hussey
Sound Director :
Stewart McLean
Hair and Make Up :
Carla McKeever
Editing House :
Rooster Post Production
Executive Producer :
Yumi Suyama
Editor :
Chris Parkins
Assistant Editor :
Joey Whitelaw
Transfer Facility :
The Vanity
Colorist :
Andrew Exworth
Online Facility :
Fort York
Flame Artist :
Andrew Rolfe
Flame Artist :
Kevin Asis
Producer :
Armen Bunag
Music House :
Grayson Matthews
Music House :
Vapor RMW
PR :
Shannon Stephaniuk
PR :
Communications Design Manager, Initiative :
Kaitlin Sylvester
President, Initiative :
Helen Galanis
Vice President, Investment, IPG Mediabrands :
Bailey Wilson
Vice President, Client Business Partner, UM :
Robert Perri
Media Partners :
Corus Entertainment
Media Partners :
Spotify Canada
Media Partners :
Bell Media

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