Special Olympics Ireland heroes athletes pursuing their dreams in "Can't Stop Now" appeal

Special Olympics Ireland heroes athletes pursuing their dreams in "Can't Stop Now" appeal

To drive vital funding for Special Olympics Ireland, pro-bono collective Good Brains for Good Brands has created the “Can’t Stop Now” appeal, fronted by actor Colin Farrell.

Running across print, outdoor, social, radio and online video, the campaign highlights that the only thing that can stop Special Olympics athletes living fulfilling lives and pursuing their dreams isn’t anything to do with their disabilities, but the lack of funding due to the current pandemic.

The work marries imagery of Ireland’s Special Olympians - including Anna Kilmartin Aisling Beacom, and Margaret Turley - with powerful statements and stories inspired by their own personal journeys of overcoming adversity. Special Olympics Ireland needs to raise half a million Euros to help over 8,000 athletes like these across Ireland.

Good Brains for Good Brands, run by Ollie Scott (founder of recruitment firm UNKNOWN), CSO Lachlan Williams and ECD Mark Fairbanks (both ex R/GA), was set up to bring together the skillsets of industry professionals - those either freelance or furloughed from advertising, PR, entertainment and tech firms - to help charities plug the predicted £10b funding gap caused by the pandemic and the worst recession on record.

In under three days of the Special Olympics Ireland brief landing with Good Brains, a team was cast, led by ‘Nothing beats a Londoner’ CD, Mark Shanley, ex BBH account director, Susan O’Hanlon and Google strategist, Aps Bangur.

Everyone gave their time and skills for free and then hustled to not only create the campaign and get it made for next to nothing thanks to partnerships with Red Rage Productions, photographer Adrian Stewart and the post production house 750 MPH.

Mark Shanley, creative director of Good Brains for Good Brands, said: “The athletes who take part in Special Olympics Ireland’s programmes are incredible. They are living, breathing examples of the power of sport to change lives. All we’ve done is try to capture them looking as powerful as sport makes them feel.

When it came to production, assembling a dream team was easy. Everyone from Red Rage films, photographer Adrian Stewart, director Darragh Carey, 750mph on sound design to even the music and voices of Hozier and Colin Farrell wanted to be involved. This is because they had so much respect and admiration for the work that Special Olympics do. The whole experience was so humbling!"

Annmarie Sweeney, director of marketing, communications and fundraising of Special Olympics Ireland, said: “2020 has been a hugely challenging year for fundraising. Due to COVID-19 restrictions we had to cancel our Annual Collection Day, which raises €500,000 in support of our programme for 8,000 athletes. In the absence of face to face cash collections, we knew we needed a powerful campaign to drive digital and text donations.

The team at Good Brains for Good Brands were incredible! They grasped the brief with both hands, creating and executing a knock-out campaign that we believe will resonate with the Irish public and highlight our athletes’ great courage and determination. We can’t thank the team enough for gifting us their great passion, energy, brains and creativity. Special Olympics Ireland would not have the funds to create a campaign of this quality and scale and we are humbled by the goodwill and generosity that made it all possible.”


Executive Creative Director: Mark Fairbanks 
Strategy Director:
Aparna Banger
Creative Director:
Mark Shanely
Creative Director:
Greg Milbourne
Account Director: Susan O'Hanlon
 Leah Mitchell-Waite
 Darragh Carey 
Executive Producer: 
Paul Holmes, Red Rage 
Head of Production: 
Treasa O'Friel, Red Rage
Director of Photography:
 Ivan McCullough 
 Rob Hegarty, Screen Scene 
Assistant Editor: 
Seamus Hart
Motion Graphics:
 Patrick Horan 
Music Supervisor:
 JT Griffith 
Donal O'Kane, Screen Scene
Allen Sillery, Screen Scene
 Adrian Stewart  
Sophie Allen 
 James McNaught 
Sound Design:
 Sam Ashwell, 750mph London
Post Production:
 Screen Scene Dublin

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly email alert and receive a regular curation of the best creative campaigns by creatives themselves.

Published on: