Since yesterday evening, an unusual picture of Kevin De Bruyne has been circulating the Internet: Kevin De Bruyne with Down’s Syndrome. The caption read, "Would you still be a fan if I looked like this?” Today, he explains why he shared the picture.
De Bruyne wants to help break a taboo. Around 165,000 people in Belgium have intellectual disabilities. One in 10 Belgians know someone facing these challenges in their immediate environment. Yet somehow, it’s a topic that remains unspoken. For example, few people are familiar with the Special Olympics–Games for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This year, the Special Olympics take place in Antwerp.
Special Olympics or Paralympics?
Unlike the Paralympics, the Games known for athletes with physical disabilities, the Special Olympics Games are not well-known. That translates into more than 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities being without supporters during a major sporting event in their lives.
Advertising agency LDV United and Special Olympics joined forces with one goal: To break the taboo around intellectual disabilities and give Special Olympic athletes the attention they deserve.
A Great Performance Deserves a Great Audience.
With the belief "A great performance deserves a great audience," an in-your-face campaign was launched. Two other Belgian athletes lent their support: Jean-Michel Saive and Kim Gevaert. Like De Bruyne, they wondered whether it’s acceptable for athletes with intellectual disabilities to deliver top performances and remain unnoticed.
Together, De Bruyne, Saive and Gevaert, make the face of this campaign—literally. The portraits of the three Belgian athletes were altered resulting in beautiful–but confrontational–images with De Bruyne, Gevaert and Saive transforming their eyes into those of a Special Olympian. (Watch the video here). Would these top athletes deserve less support because of an intellectual disability? The powerful statement kicks off a discussion about athletes with an intellectual disability; discussion that is essential to breaking the taboo. Responses to Kevin De Bruyne’s picture yesterday confirms that need.
The launch of the campaign starts online with social media, and continues with print and outdoor.
Will You Support the Special Olympics Athletes, Too?
Come cheer the athletes at the Special Olympics European Summer Games, from September 9-20th in Antwerp. Visit So2014.com to discover how you can support this winning project.