Down Syndrome

The Gift of Inclusion

Like so many other boys and girls this time of year, Izzy Bradley is excited about the prospect of opening presents, but what’s unique about two-year-old Izzy’s story is that her enthusiasm, captured in a Target ad has now been shared by millions of people.

Target flyer featuring Izzy Bradley

Target flyer featuring Izzy Bradley

The biggest gift that Izzy Bradley is promoting in the Target ad isn’t the Zaney Zoo activity cube, but because Izzy has Down Syndrome, she’s able to share the gift of inclusion for families of children with disabilities. So few advertisers are willing to encourage greater visibility and awareness, but Target saw an opportunity to do just that.

According to WCCS, CBS Minnesota, Target contacted the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network asking for pictures of kids with disabilities who’d be interested in modeling. CBS coverage included interviewing Izzy’s mom Heather Bradley who shared, “I really appreciate Target’s policy of including them in their ads. I think it really normalizes Down syndrome and helps people to see we’re really just like any other family. I really just hope that if a new mom, or an expectant mom, were to see a little girl in an ad that they would just have that sense of hope for their child, and that they would know really there’s a great future for them.”

For many advertisers, the holidays mark the biggest season where the advertising has to be perfect. From Norman Rockwell’s romanticized covers of the Saturday Evening Post to the famous Coca-cola Santa and polar bear ads and the Eveready Bunny who’s batteries power presents under the tree, this season’s advertising is often highly curated so that everything is flawless and perfect.

Every family has their own version of perfect though, and because of that, there’s a wonderful opportunity for more advertisers to be inclusive. Millions of holiday shoppers in some way are connected to people with disabilities and their family’s version of perfect might include seeing a child with Down Syndrome smiling at Santa, an amputee embracing his wife, or even a boy with a prosthetic eye dreaming about Legos.

This holiday consider the gift of inclusion by encouraging visibility and voice for people with  disabilities.

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