adidas Canadian Down Syndrome Society

Adidas - Runner 321 (case study)

Agency: FCB Canada


To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, adidas collaborated with creative agency FCB Canada and director Jason Van Bruggen to tell the story of adidas’ first sponsored athlete with Down Syndrome, Chris Nikic. As Chris is a triathlete, marathon runner and the world’s first Ironman with Down Syndrome, the campaign reserved the runner BIB 321 for Chris to race with in the Boston Marathon this year - with extended plans to allow all neurodivergent athletes to wear BIB 321 in next year’s event too.

Why 321?
95% of people with Down syndrome have trisomy 21 — a full copy of chromosome 21, leading to three copies instead of two. This number is iconic to the Down syndrome community and the reason why we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on 03/21.

Andrew MacPhee, executive creative director at FCB Canada explains: “Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21, hence 3-21.” The number is widely used by the Down Syndrome community and marks World Down Syndrome Day annually on March 21. “The initial spark came from our desire to create visibility and representation for neurodivergent people in running,” says Andrew. “We wanted to create a beacon for others to see what’s possible. In a sea of thousands of runners, our runner needed to be easy to spot. That’s where the idea to reserve BIB 321, a number that resonates with the Down syndrome community, became the centre point for this campaign.”

FCB Canada has a history of working with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) and brought its experience in this field to the campaign. Runner 321 is just one of the agency's recent projects aiming to improve inclusion in fitness for the Down syndrome community. “Fitness is often discouraged by doctors for people with Down syndrome. MinDSets, our global research study is tracking the impact of fitness on cognition for people with Down syndrome so we can change that and make fitness a key part of prescribed therapy.”

The shared ambition between adidas, FCB Canada and Jason was the advancement of inclusion in sport - and already they have received “an overwhelming, positive response” from parents of neurodivergent children, who are seeing themselves represented for the first time. Andrew says, “A particularly poignant post from a mother of a two-year-old said that the video made her hopeful for her son and she would use it to show him what’s going to be possible for him. We’re also seeing people step up to support it. An Olympian has offered to train any Down syndrome person to be the next Runner 321. So we know that this initiative is already making an impact in showing people what inclusion in mainstream sports looks like.”

This professional campaign titled 'Adidas - Runner 321 (case study) ' was published in Canada and United States in June, 2023. It was created for the brands: adidas and Canadian Down Syndrome Society, by ad agency: FCB Canada. This Content, Direct, and Integrated media campaign is related to the Sports and Sportswear industries and contains 1 media asset. It was submitted about 1 year ago by LLLLITL.


Brand: adidas.
Advertising Agency: FCB, Toronto (Canada).
Production: 456 STUDIOS Toronto.
Post Production: Alter Ego Toronto ; School Editing Toronto.
Music & Sound: Oso Audio Toronto ; Citizen Music Toronto.
PR: Current PR Toronto.

Director, Brand Communication Sport Footwear and Apparel: Dustin Geddis.
NAM Sports Marketing: Hygie Ordono.
Sr. Manager, Brand Communications, Running Footwear: Josie Johnson.
Running Footwear: Andrew Lemoncello.
Asst. Manager, Digital Publishing: Emily Crueger.
Manager Digital Content: Sally Rubey.
Sr. Manager Digital Content: Rene Hirschbolz.

Chief Creative Officer: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna.
EVP, Global Creative Partner: Danilo Boer.
Executive Creative Director: Andrew MacPhee.
Executive Creative Director: Cuanan Cronwright.
Executive Creative Director: Leonardo Barbosa.
Associate Creative Director: Sally Fung.
Associate Creative Director: Sara Radovanovich.
CSO: Shelley Brown.
Sr. Strategist: Audrey Zink.
VP, Managing Director: Tim Welsh.
VP, Managing Director: Ricky Jacobs.
Account Supervisor: Chris Flynn.
VP, General Manager Content: Ian Buck.
VP, Content Development: Yotam Dor.
Director of Project Management: Emily Mihalek.

456 Studios
VP, Integrated Production: Stef Fabich.
Director, Broadcast Production/Producer: Sarah Michener.

School Editing
Executive Producer: Sarah Brooks.
Editor: Lynn Sheehy.
Asst. Editor: Fiona Alvarez.

Alter Ego
Colourist: Andrew Ross.
Colour Assistant: Ebi Agbeyegbe.
On Line Artist: Sebastian Boros.
On Line Assistant: Nupur Desai.
Producer: Spencer Butt.

Oso Audio
Creative Director: Daenen Bramberger.
Producer: Lauren Dobbie.
Executive Producer: Hannah Graham.
Sound Engineer: Dylan Groff.

Citizen Music
Junior Producer: Kai Rizzuto.
Head of Production: Molly Young.
Creative Director: Tomas Jacobi.
Composer: Nico Barry.

Current PR
Sr. VP, Client Experience: Shannon McGovern.
Account Director: Sara Koerner.
CEO: Virginia Devlin.


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