Special Olympics New York has provided inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities for over 50 years. Through their hard work and extensive programming, they’ve helped athletes experience the thrill of competitive sports. Yet despite their decades of experience, the non-profit is in a constant struggle to generate the money that funds their initiatives.
On the other side of the aisle, professional sports continue to thrive. Even amidst a global pandemic, brands continued to sponsor pro athletes (to the tune of nearly $30B), while Special Olympics New York struggles to keep essential programs alive with an operating budget equivalent to just 0.03% of that amount. Our mission was to launch a campaign that could somehow connect this lifechanging organization with more of the deep-pocketed sponsors they rely on.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, altering nearly every industry imaginable—including pro sports. The NBA and MLB were forced to shorten their seasons. The Summer Olympics in Japan were postponed. March Madness was called off completely. With far fewer games to play, sponsors were suddenly left with money to spend.
This led us to a wild thought: what if we could inspire sports sponsors to steer dollars away from the same old pros and towards the Special Olympians who truly need them to survive? With that, a new campaign was born. #YourBrandHere would be an epic sports sponsorship that just hasn’t happened yet. And we’d use the power of social media to make the connection.
We created an inspiring video that looked that felt like an iconic sports ad. The only problem? One key element was missing: an actual brand sponsor. The epic :60 spot highlighted three badass NY Special Olympians in the classic Nike & Gatorade aesthetic, but in place of a product was our tagline: #YourBrandHere. To give our athletes the full superstar treatment, we also photographed them for 3 unique print ads.
We launched our content on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter and had a powerful CTA for our followers: @ tag brands and tell them to sponsor Special Olympics New York.
Inspired by the content, people began tagging sponsorship heavyweights and catching the attention of potential partners. @UnderArmour. @Nike. @adidas. The campaign quickly made waves with the C-suite set on LinkedIn, and we’re thrilled to share that a new, high-level brand sponsor is currently in talks with Special Olympics New York about a future collaboration.
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