Special Olympics New York challenges brands to sponsor these athletes

The organization's 50th anniversary campaign calls out endorsement deals

Published On
Sep 30, 2020

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Sepia-toned footage of sweat and muscle, overlayed with the grizzled rumblings of athletic affirmations, is all the rage these days in sports marketing. Pan in slow motion, capture the power and poise of the human form in in action. Cut. Print.

As Special Olympics New York celebrates its 50th anniversary, a new spot for the organization leans into these very tropes to call out brands, who are still spending as much as $30 billion on sponsorships of professional sports, but aren't investing any of their funds to support Special Olympics.

Three athletes feature in an anthem spot: Izzy Brinkerhoff, a middle-school gymnast who’s won 10 gold medals; Daniel Fletcher, a professional bowler, powerlifter and septuple threat who also plays floor hockey, softball, bocce, track and field and rides equestrian; and Genesis Duran, an 11th grader and five-time gold medalist in basketball and soccer who is the only girl on her all-male high school teams.

Rather than prominent product placement, blank holes appear where sports bottles and headphones would normally be. To fill those blanks, Special Olympics New York wants brands to contribute 1% of what they earmark for professional sports to the organization. The spot from Edelman is directed by Bobby Carnevale via Blue Chalk.