Special needs parents, have you been keeping your eyes on the ads this Holiday season? If you have, you may have seen Izzy.
Earlier this year Target reached out to the online support group Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network looking for models for their 2014 holiday ad. Izzy’s mom runs the group and with this, Izzy’s fame began. In September they had a photo shoot and the ads hit homes mid-December. It didn’t take long before her picture was being shared by special needs parents everywhere.
Because… oh how we love when our kids are represented as part of the general population. Not only that… but clearly, they are wicked cute.
Target is not a stranger to using children with special needs in their ads, they also made a splash in 2012 when they used a blonde-haired blue-eyed boy named Ryan who also has Down Syndrome. (Ryan had previously modeled for Nordstrom who has also been known to use children with special needs in their ads.)
As if I needed another reason to love Target…
The support of Izzy in this campaign sparked a media movement to encourage companies to use more special needs models in their advertisements. The group Changing the Face of Beauty started the #IMREADY campaign with the goal of getting 15 companies to used special needs models in the year 2015.
They want parents to get the word out by posting pictures of their children on Twitter and FaceBook using the hashtag #IMREADY and #15in2015.
Infantino, maker of parenting tools and children’s toys, was the first to step up. On December 24th they Tweeted “We are committed to using children of all abilities in our campaigns and hope other brands will join us.” go to their FaceBook page to see a little cutie with down syndrome in their cover photo. (This is where I add that my daughter absolutely LOVES those blocks in their cover photo… she has a set here at home AND at school! We were a fan of their products before, but now we are even more so!)
I was so happy to see how much support Target got for featuring Izzy. It’s heartwarming! And because of how popular this ad was, I hope to see many more children with special needs featured in ads this coming year. If you see any, let us know in the comments!