Special Olympics New York Pays Homage to Classic Nike Ads to Show Off Its Athletes, Raise Funds

Special Olympics New York Pays Homage to Classic Nike Ads to Show Off Its Athletes, Raise Funds

The strong black and white commercial is shot in slow motion and is full of sporting achievements. The confident speaker doesn’t take prisoners with statements like “We’re only talking about victories here” and “If you know you are meant to be great, who can stop you?”

Is this the latest sneaker campaign with LeBron James? Or a beer commercial with Victor Hedman, the newly minted MVP of the Stanley Cup?

Not really either. It’s a frame-by-frame homage to the sports marketing of heavyweight brands like Gatorade, Nike, and Budweiser. More importantly, it’s a plea for Special Olympics New York sponsors. The non-profit organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary by unsubtitively pointing out the inequality of corporate dollars that flow into top-class professional sports.

The 60-second spot – pro bono work by the Edelman agency – removes logos from the shoes, water bottles and headphones of the three-star athletes and leaves space for “Your Brand Here”.

While basketball player Genesis Duran, gymnast Izzy Brinkerhoff and powerlifter Daniel Fletcher put their skills and playful faces to the test, the fearless voice-over continues. “Let me win,” says the narrator. “But if I can’t win, let me be brave.”

Special Olympics New York has revenue that is “0.03% of the nearly $ 30 billion” brands spend on professional sports, according to the organization, which wants that number to increase by up to 1% to “increase the odds.” and the support to triple the state’s Special Olympians.

At the national level, there is a blue-chip list of long-time Special Olympics sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and United Airlines. However, state and regional Special Olympics programs such as those in Southern California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio are required to build their own list of branded partners, which the coronavirus pandemic and economic recession has made difficult.

“It’s clear that these Special Olympics athletes are totally in a bad mood, and everyone knows how effective it is for brands to associate their products with athletes who inspire. Hence, it is impossible to ignore the differences in support between Special Olympians and elite athletes or professional sports, ”said Jesse Suchmann, Edelman’s Executive Creative Director. “When we saw Special Olympics programs being cut, it was the right time for us to rethink how brands are working with Special Olympics New York.”


Agency: Edelman


CCO: Jimmie Stone

ECD: Jesse Suchmann

CD: Conor Hogan

ACD: Eden Lewis

CW: Grace Cha

AD: Madelyn Fetzko

AD: Esther Lee


EP: Ari Pomerantz

Producer: Gina LoPinto

Account / PR:

SVP: Gennifer Horowitz

VP: Evelyn Kroenlein

AS: Jon Salas

SAE: Melissa Connolly


SVP: Jeremy Busch

Main planner: Danielle Kellner

Communication planner: Aly Blake


Peter Meiler

Business matters:

Hazel Popplewell

Ben Cadwallader

Director: Bobby Carnevale

Production companies:


Blue chalk

Rob Finch – Creative Director

Sebastian Weinberg – Production Manager

Chris Janjic – cameraman
Whitney Bradshaw – producer
Grant Flanagan – AC / gaffer
Ruth Aravena – COVID Security Coordinator / PA
Emma Decker – assistant director
Amy Polansky Post Production Manager
Jesse Crowell – editor

Conner Lee – Motion Graphic Designer

Aubrey Moore – Assistant Editor

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