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Yes, sorry is a bad word; change the “S” word

Yes, sorry is a bad word; change the “S” word

Testimonial is a powerful resource and is more and more used to raise awarnes about people with down syndrome inclusion, since Dear Future Mom campaign on 2014 and the results, are going better. This is a good example.

When a baby is born parents are usually showered with oohs, aahs and congratulations. The last thing most people would say to a new parent is “sorry.” Yet this is exactly what many parents with a newborn with Down syndrome hear from friends, family and even their doctors. Already heartbroken, ‘sorry’ offers more heartbreak.

So what should well-wishers say? Literally, the only bad word is the ‘S’ word. This is the point the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is making in its new campaign, “Anything But Sorry.

At the centre of the awareness campaign is a video, called “The ‘S’ Word.” The video features people with Down syndrome sharing alternate things to say to these new parents – using every inappropriate phrase they know except “sorry.” The point is, the most inappropriate thing to say to parents of a child born with Down syndrome is “sorry” and that the birth of every child should be celebrated.

“Last year, with ‘Down Syndrome Answers,’ we focused on what happens when parents find out that their unborn child has Down syndrome,” says Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Canada. “This year, with ‘Anything But Sorry,’ we’re building on that and focusing on what happens when those babies are born and what happens next.”

“We want to help change the dialogue around those mixed feelings and encourage people to treat the birth of a baby with Down syndrome just as they would any other baby,” says Crowther.

Not only does the video educate about welcoming a baby with Down syndrome, it also gives the cast (many of whom were featured in last year’s “Down Syndrome Answers”) a platform to express their sense of humour and personality, shedding a more human light on the community and combatting stereotypes.

In a a wonderful behind the scenes”Why Sorry is a Bad Word” Parents explain in a video “Why Sorry is a Bad Word.” What do you say to parents when their child is born with Down syndrome? Anything but “Sorry.” The new awareness campaign features some of the same people who were featured in “Down Syndrome Answers.”

Viewers of the video will be directed to, where they can help make sure that every baby born with Down syndrome this year gets a warm welcome.

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officer: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts
Sr. Copywriter: Marty Hoefkes
Sr. Art Director: Michael Morelli
Art Director: Cody Sabatine, Gira Moin
Copywriter: Joseph Vernuccio
Illustrators: Sasha Ortega, Elma Karabegovic, Sarah Cleaver, Amanda Disanto, Sally Fung


I'm founder of "CAUSA", a Change Agency focused on social and sustainability behaviour change. Read more.