add featuring child with Down syndrome

Have you ever noticed that you’re more keenly aware of a topic when it becomes personal? Parents of children with Down syndrome, like me, share a special radar for marketing campaigns that promote diversity and inclusion.

Promoting inclusion, one ad at a time’s Carter Murai

First of all, you can’t help but grin in response to 7-year-old Carter Murai’s wide smile in’s commercial as part of its campaign called, “Tough Judges.” 

But something else caught my eye (or rather, ear): He has a speaking role! Carter has Down syndrome, which is a chromosomal condition that occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 (while most people have 46 chromosomes, people with Down syndrome have 47).

Down syndrome often causes intellectual, developmental and speech delays, so hearing a child with Down syndrome speak — just like a typical child, or as a recent nonprofit film explains, Just Like You — is heartwarming for a parent like me, whose son with Down syndrome does not speak yet.

Carter's carefully spoken line about the kind of caregiver he hopes his parents find — ”Someone who loves bubbles!” — makes me love him to pieces.

More posts note special needs experience

Erica Scheik, chief brand officer of, spoke with SheKnows about the growing number of job postings their site sees that include mentions of special needs care. “Currently in the U.S. alone, we have more than 67,500 families in search of special needs care and more than 55,800 special needs care providers registered on,” Scheik explained.

In fact, more than half of the special needs providers on cite specific experience with Down syndrome.

“We knew we wanted to include a child with special needs in a meaningful way, but not single him or her out as being substantially different,” Scheik adds.

Why I also love

The company helps demystify the process of hiring a caregiver for our child with special needs by sharing a Caregiver Guide to Special Needs and tips on How to Hire a Special Needs Caregiver. In addition? We found our own amazing Mary Poppins to care for our little boy when he was only four months old and fresh off a heart monitor. Thank you,!

Other companies deserving applause

Target add featuring child with Down syndrome

  • JCPenney has demonstrated some of the most inclusive advertising by any large retailer, from representing families with same-sex parents to including children with disabilities such as Down syndrome.
  • Target continues to be progressive, including a child with Down syndrome in a recent print campaign. ”Target is committed to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our business, including our advertising campaigns,” said Kim Strong, vice president, Diversity & Inclusion, Target. ”[We have] included people with disabilities in our advertising for many years and will continue to feature people that represent the diversity of communities across the country.”

Small company, big heart

And some companies go above and beyond in spite of their smaller size. Central Dairy in Jefferson City, Missouri, featured not one, but five children with Down syndrome in a local ad, proving that it doesn’t take big advertising budgets to be inclusive, it just takes initiative.

”I have a sister who has Down syndrome,” says Betsy Dudenhoeffer, director of marketing, Central Dairy, ”so I grew up knowing the importance of making the ’different’ kids feel loved, accepted and not so ’different!’”

”Central Dairy was thrilled to work with these kids for the very same reason! Diversity is important because it provides our society and culture with unique and inspirational perspectives!”

More about inclusion

Designer honored for featuring girl with Down syndrome on catalog cover
Special needs double standard?
Nonprofit film turns camera on teens with Down syndrome


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Comments on "More ad campaigns feature children with Down syndrome"

Tiffany o May 13, 2013 | 7:09 PM

My 15 month old daughter who has DS, was hired by Disney for their resent print ad. Not sure when and where they will come out. I commend any company who includes our children as they do any other child

Maureen Wallace May 05, 2013 | 9:08 AM

Brigid, what a wonderful story and such good advice... as I worked on this article, I made sure I explained why this topic was so important to me, and why it was so meaningful to see children like Charlie in their ads. I think people underestimate the power of sharing their stories and motivation with big companies... we CAN make a difference! Thanks again for sharing!

Brigid S May 04, 2013 | 7:42 AM

Crest toothpaste was a very early advertiser who used a child with Down syndrome. It was in the eary 90's. Emily Perl Kingsley, a writer for Sesame Stereet was speaking at Down syndrome conferences(and other advocacy groups) at the time. She advised parents of children with Down syndrome to contact Crest and thank them..also to buy their products and tell them why...I would suggest the same thing to todays parents. Thank you Emily Perl Kingsley for your ongoing advocacy for people with Down syndrome. Emily has a grown up son, Jason Kingsley who has Down syndrome. Jason is an author and works and lives on his own...

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