New Ad Council Autism Campaign Focuses On Detecting Early Signs

A new awareness campaign from the Ad Council and Autism Speaks uses real families to encourage parents to identify the early signs of this disorder.

The PSAs, developed with BBDO, introduce three children on the spectrum at a series of birthday parties with examples of how those with autism may respond differently in day-to-day situations. The spots all end with upbeat outcomes to provide hope to viewers and to underscore the message that it is never too early to look for certain warning signs.

“It was important that the ultimate takeaway was one of hope and positivity,”” says David Povill, executive creative director, BBDO. “We chose to use a childhood birthday to underscore the message that it’s never too early to look for signs of autism, and reassure parents that a screening is not something to fear, but rather the first step to a better life for their child.”



The agency partnered with director Jacob Chase largely through his previous experience working with special needs children. Chase recently directed a feature film that centers around an autistic child, working with experts and consultants to make his film as authentic as possible. He utilized that level of care and understanding with this experience, says an Ad Council representative. Autism awareness is also a cause close to Chase’s heart as his wife is an early intervention specialist.

The campaign appears in both English and Spanish to reach as many families as possible. Many children on the spectrum, especially in minority communities, are being diagnosed later in life and for Hispanic children in particular, there is a gap in both screening/evaluation and prevalence.

Campaign materials are designed to prompt parents to visit or, to access both English and Spanish resources. In addition, the site features free, bilingual materials such as the 100 Day Kit, providing information and advice of the first 100 days following a diagnosis.


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