This week, Madi “Maddog” Madory from Oklahoma City, Okla., and Joshua Olds from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., became larger than life. The two Special Olympics athletes traveled to New York City to see themselves in athletic poses on huge billboards wearing shirts from the ‘Yeah, I am Special’ collection, part of Special Olympics' larger “The Revolution Is Inclusion” campaign. ‘Yeah, I am Special’ was led by full-service independent advertising agency Tombras as a way to reclaim, redefine, and explore the power of the word “special.”
To kick off the activation, sports journalist Stephen A. Smith lent his voice to this video:
Special Olympics Global Ambassadors like former NFL player Dale Moss, who joined Madory and Olds for the unveiling, and Milwaukee Bucks player Damian Lillard, who wore the shirt prior to one of his games, showed their support by posting themselves wearing the shirts on social media. Additional ambassadors and celebrity supporters will post similar photos throughout this “Special” activation.
While in New York, Olds took the opportunity to visit the TODAY Plaza, where TODAY Show hosts Al Roker, Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin gushed over poster-size versions of the billboards. Actor Melissa McCarthy, a TODAY guest, was gifted a shirt and exclaimed her love of Special Olympics.
The ‘Yeah, I am Special’ collection kick-off was covered by various media outlets. Here is a sample of the national and local coverage:
PR Newswire – Special Olympics Athletes Surprised with Billboard Reveal in New York City
Ad Age – Special Olympics Reclaims the Word ‘Special’ in Tombras Campaign
The Journal Record – OKC Athlete Featured in “Yeah, I Am Special’ Campaign
Fox23 News – Billboard Surprise for Oklahoma Special Olympian
KOCO5 News – Special Olympics Athlete from Oklahoma City Featured on Billboard in New York City
Media Post – Athletes Tout Their Uncommon Gifts To Help Special Olympics
Disability Scoop – After Tackling ‘R-Word,’ Disability Group Seeks To Erase Stigma Associated With ‘Special’
Fansided - Unveiling of Special Olympics' 'Yeah I am Special,' Campaign Billboard in NYC
To purchase a limited edition shirt or learn more about the campaign, click here.