The National Down Syndrome Society is launching a national campaign to bring awareness to, and help change, outdated laws that force people with Down syndrome to choose between Medicaid and pursuing a career.
The pro bono effort was created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York. It is the first time the agency has worked with the NDDS. Saatchi New York previously worked with CoorDown, Italy's national organization for individuals with Down syndrome.
“Law Syndrome” addresses the challenges people with Down syndrome confront when they want to follow their professional dreams, get married and live independent, productive lives. However, in doing so, they may jeopardize the critical government supports they rely on, such as health care. The campaign explains that it’s not their extra chromosome holding them back, it’s the law. They are suffering from #LawSyndrome.
The campaign aims to give individuals with Down syndrome, their families, the larger disability community and the general public a voice in confronting these dated beliefs and further provide a platform to encourage congressional leaders to act. Paid media support is primarily focused on OOH that showed up in billboards across Washington, D.C., in high-traffic areas such as Union Station.
The campaign will help mark October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The call-to-action for the campaign is for viewers to text Law Syndrome to 52886 or visit Lawsyndrome.org to learn how they can help.
The integrated campaign will include a multifaceted public service announcement complete with an invite-only launch event, film, influencer outreach, out-of-home and a website.
“NDSS is leading this historic national effort by showcasing to the world that Down syndrome doesn’t stop people with Down syndrome — it’s ‘Law Syndrome’ that holds them back,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir, in a release. “By launching this campaign, we are calling on our leaders in Congress to join our efforts to reform these complex but misguided laws — and to help us change #LawSyndrome.”
Javier Campopiano, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi New York, calls the effort not just an ad campaign, but a platform for action.
“The idea of ‘Law Syndrome’ became more than a hashtag, a film, and a rallying cry,” he says. “It became the name of the legislation that we’re hoping will become law.”