Special Olympics NorCal athletes seek to reclaim the term 'special'

Campaign addresses the preconceived notions of what it’s like to live with an intellectual disability as an athlete.

Published On
Jun 27, 2023

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Special Olympics Northern California’s new awareness campaign addresses the preconceived notions of what it’s like to live with an intellectual disability as an athlete.

The organization worked with Barrett Hofherr and production company Avocados & Coconuts on a video featuring real athletes reclaiming the word “special.” “Special isn’t what we are. It’s what we do,” they say.

“Our first major brand campaign helps redefine what it means to be ‘special’ within the Special Olympics movement and is designed to ignite momentum in our larger NorCal community,” said David Solo, Special Olympics NorCal president and CEO, in a statement. “This campaign captures the joy and spirits of our inspiring athletes while opening the hearts and minds of our audiences to make inclusion a part of their everyday lives.”

The campaign launch coincides with the annual Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games in Santa Clara. 

Media agency Ways & Means helped air “Do Something Special” with donated broadcast, cinema, streaming audio, digital, out-of-home and social media throughout Northern California. All footage is from sporting events in Northern California with most of the footage captured by athletes during the competitions, according to the organization.

“The word ‘special’ has become a label that too often marginalizes when it’s meant to celebrate,” Jamie Barrett, founder of Barrett Hofherr, said in a statement. “This campaign—and more specifically the athletes themselves—seeks to confront that misperception head on.”

As part of the campaign, Special Olympics also created a content hub with tools and information on how the public can engage and volunteer with the organization.


Jun 27, 2023
Client :
Special Olympics
Agency :
Barrett Hofherr
Head of Marketing :
Jess Daugherty
Marketing Manager :
Dana Andrew
Senior Manager PR & Communications :
Tyler Krochmal
Jamie Barrett
Todd Eisner
Art Director :
Michael Simon
Art Director :
Daisy Serafini
Copywriter :
Liam Berg
Head of Production :
Conor Duignan
Senior Producer :
Marianne Lawlor
Head of Accounts :
Robert Woods
Account Director :
Megan Wakeman
Account Manager :
Satara Post
Head of Strategy :
Amie Chan
Senior Strategist :
Kiersten Hazard
Social Strategist :
Dora Beilin
Production Company :
Avocados & Coconuts
Director :
Matt Palmer
Executive Producer :
Dalia Burde
Production Coordinator :
Gabrielle Occhipinti
Director of Photography :
Drew Kass
Post Production Company :
Avocados & Coconuts
Editor :
Gaby Scott
Post Producer :
Jessica Kenney
Music Company :
Heavy Duty
Sound Design & Mix :
M Squared
Sound Engineer :
Hayley Kay
Sound Engineer :
Mark Pitchford
Color Company :
Colorist :
Xander Schwab
Business Affairs :
Tricia Krasneski
Media Agency :
Ways & Means
Founder :
Karen Halstead
Founder :
Diana Bormuth
Associate Media Director :
Paige Weber
Research Agency :
Program 11
Partner Head of Strategy :
Miriam Boey
Research Analyst :
Adam Rogers

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