Canadian Down Syndrome Society says not to be ‘sorry’ on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is reminding people that ‘sorry’ can be a bad word when talking about a baby born with Down syndrome.

In recognition of World Down Syndrome Awareness Day today (March 21), the latest chapter in CDSS’s ‘Anything But Sorry’ campaign is reminding people that every baby deserves to be celebrated. The campaign is highlighted by a new video called ‘S-Warnings,’ which features people with Down syndrome explaining when it’s okay to say "sorry," and when it's a bad word.

“No baby should ever be welcomed with the word ‘sorry,’” said Kirk Crowther, national executive director of CDSS. “We want to continue to change the dialog around what it means to have Down syndrome and encourage people to welcome a baby born with Down syndrome as they would any other baby.”

The CDSS is also expanding the message beyond social video, finding digital content containing the word “sorry” and intercepting people in those environments to reinforce the same message.

Using YouTube’s data-targeting capabilities, agency partner 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 appears as a typical language warning message, except it concentrates on 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, surprising listeners with a playlist filled with the most explicit word of all, “sorry” – which appears in chart toppers including Demi Lovato’s ‘Sorry Not Sorry.’

The campaign directs people to AnythingButSorry.com, where they can view videos, learn more about Down syndrome, and how to properly speak to parents of children diagnosed or born with Down syndrome.

“This campaign is very much an extension of our core idea, that sorry is a bad word when welcoming a child with Down syndrome,” said Jeff Hilts, chief creative officer, FCB Canada. “But this time, we focused on a creative use of media to reinforce the message – using data to target YouTube videos and other digital content with the word sorry – to find environments where our message would be even more relevant.”

In North America, approximately one in every 781 babies will be born with Down syndrome, which translates to roughly 9,363 births a year.

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