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.
Care.com’s Carter Murai
First of all, you can’t help but grin in response to 7-year-old Carter Murai’s wide smile in Care.com’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 Care.com, 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 Care.com,” Scheik explained.
In fact, more than half of the special needs providers on Care.com 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 Care.com
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, Care.com!
Other companies deserving applause
- 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!”