Canadian Down Syndrome Society and FCB win One Show’s Prestigious Penta Pencil

The rewarding partnership between the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) and FCB Canada has resulted in the two being awarded The One Show’s prestigious Penta Pencil. It is the first time in the award’s eight-year history it has been awarded to a client and agency working in the non-profit sector.

First awarded in 2016, the Penta Pencil is won by a brand and agency who have created stellar work together for five or more years. It recognizes that award-winning work is only possible as a result of collaboration between creatives with great ideas and the clients who trust them.

The CDSS and FCB are the first-ever Canadian winners of the Penta Pencil, which has previously been awarded to large consumer goods brands such as Dove, Tide, Nike, and Apple. It also marks the first Penta win for the FCB network.

Partners since 2016, CDSS and FCB have created a series of acclaimed and highly effective campaigns that have resulted in more than 3.6 billion impressions and, most importantly, the introduction of life-altering solutions and dispelling myths about people with Down Syndrome.

Over the course of their relationship, the two organizations have used the power and reach of global brands including Google, Fitbit, and LinkedIn to tackle challenges faced by people with Down syndrome.

Their work has gone far beyond the scope of traditional advertising, from partnering with Google and contributing to its voice algorithm to better serve the 78 million people around the world living with atypical speech; to leading a global research study to prove the link between fitness and cognition; and making individuals in the Down syndrome community visible to potential employers.

“When we began our partnership with CDSS, we didn’t want to tackle a single issue, we wanted to create a platform where we could tackle the many and diverse challenges that individuals in the community face throughout their lives,” said Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Canada. “Too many agencies approach this kind of work with a one-off mentality, but we were focussed on creating a long-term platform that gave individuals in the Down syndrome community a voice in advocating for change globally. It’s incredible to see how this one simple partnership between FCB and CDSS resulted in building partnerships with some of the world’s largest platforms to affect change globally.”

CDSS promotes the abilities and contributions of people with Down syndrome while closing gaps in support, information, and resources to make leading a full life less challenging for people with Down syndrome.

Over the course of the partnership, CDSS’ influence as an advocacy leader has extended beyond its Canadian border, earning global recognition and praise. The organization has twice been asked to speak at the United Nations. Working with FCB, their collaborative relationship is empowering a community and bringing about lasting change.

Our relationship has been built on trust and respect, with a shared ambition to push the boundaries of typical disability advocacy work,” says Ed Casagrande, Board Chair, Canadian Down Syndrome Society. “At every stage of their journey, parents have to challenge misinformation and stereotypes about individuals with Down syndrome. Together with FCB, we set out to demonstrate people with Down syndrome’s humanity instead of merely talking about it. We let people with Down syndrome speak and advocate for themselves and more independent and fulfilling lives.”

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