The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!
From the 7th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Inspired: Publix and the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

Finalist in Nonprofit Partnership, Disability Awareness


Since 1972, Publix has partnered with Special Olympics Florida to support its mission of providing year-round sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities. Due to the generosity of our customers and associates, annual fundraising efforts have provided the necessary support for local and statewide Special Olympics programs — which over time, Publix has extended to every state the company operates in.  

We are honored to employ many accomplished Special Olympics athletes, past and present. Several Publix associates qualified for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Because of their hard work and dedication to their craft, these participants were the inspiration behind a two-week social media campaign developed to recognize them and cheer them on.

The campaign’s goal was to showcase how proud we are of our associate-athletes. We created three unique content features to share their stories. The first celebratory “Good Luck” post highlighted all associates competing in the Games to rally our social following to wish them well. The second post showcased one associate’s journey from working at Publix to training for the Games with a video titled “A Day in the Life.” Finally, “Scenes from the Games” featured specific sporting events and the overall excitement throughout the Games.

Each post received tremendous positive engagement. In fact, our “Good Luck” piece was one of the most engaging posts of all time for Publix. We attribute this highly successful campaign to our strong partnership with Special Olympics and our associate-athletes, the extended content team and fan feedback.

Strategy and Execution

We knew early in the year that we wanted to create a social media campaign around the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. We wanted to highlight our decades of partnership with the Special Olympics and felt it was important to recognize our own associates who have worked so hard to qualify for and participate in the Games.

This social media campaign would give us a unique opportunity to authentically tell the stories of some of our associates and cheer on all our Games competitors while uniting Publix associates and customers alike to learn about and encourage them too. Our social media team met several times to brainstorm ideas, and we quickly realized we had come up with multiple impactful ways to celebrate our associates who would be competing in the Games. We agreed on select pieces of content that would each tell a story using different objectives. The common theme of the campaign was to shine a positive light on each individual and encourage them on their journey.

The biggest challenge we faced in developing this campaign was making sure we accurately collected all the names and assets needed for the “Good Luck” piece, as well as deciding on one associate to feature in the “A Day in the Life” piece. Publix currently operates more than 1,295 grocery stores throughout seven states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, and we employ over 235,000 people. Nevertheless, we overcame our struggles when our team worked tirelessly for over a month with other internal business partners collecting all the necessary information and making sure no one was left out. We also knew the “A Day in the Life” concept would take a lot of planning and resources. But our team was adamant that a video concept featuring one associate was important for allowing our social followers the chance to see how much dedication it takes to train for the Games. It was extremely difficult selecting just one associate, but ultimately, we decided on Wade, a front service clerk based in Florida, to be our muse. We spent weeks planning for the video content piece, ensuring all aspects of production exceeded our expectations.

Our work resulted in highly engaged-with social media posts, and an emotional video that realistically portrayed Wade in his daily journey from working at Publix to training for his equestrian event.


Our three content features of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games garnered more than 62K engagements and 80K video views. They reached over 1.25 million people combined across our Facebook and Instagram accounts. The performance of this campaign far exceeded our per-post averages, a testament to the impact the content made and how it resonated with our social following.

Personal engagement with this campaign was overwhelmingly positive. The content exceeded our expectations and elicited pride, inspiration and happiness as more than 3,500 individuals left comments like:

We received the same sentiment from our Special Olympics partners. “From all of us at Special Olympics Florida, thank you to the Publix team for truly embracing our athletes and the spirit of our mission. The “A Day in the Life” video feature is incredibly powerful — one of the best pieces I have seen from these Games. We were so honored to have your associates join us on this journey.” ― Sherry Wheelock, CEO of Special Olympics Florida.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Publix Super Markets


Entry Credits