Special Olympics Great Britain - National Press Office and Strategic Media Relations

The Client

Special Olympics is a global movement dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports, fostering inclusion, and promoting acceptance. With events and programmes in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics engages millions of athletes, volunteers, and supporters worldwide. Special Olympics Great Britain currently has 95 accredited programmes in England, Scotland and Wales and provides coaching and competition opportunities in 27 sports. These programmes are run by more than 3,500 volunteers who support more than 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities to take part. 

The Challenge 

As the Berlin 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games was approaching, Special Olympics GB wanted to raise awareness of the athletes who would be participating in the national and regional press and highlight key news from the games themselves such as medal wins and noteworthy accomplishments. The challenge was to enhance the visibility of Special Olympics GB during the games in the UK media, as well as raise awareness about its mission, and promote the message of inclusivity. There are also prevailing misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding intellectual disabilities, and Special Olympics GB wanted to address and challenge these through positive media narratives. 

The Solution

Montpellier acted as the national press office for Special Olympics GB, developing tailored and unique press releases showcasing individual athlete stories and successes leading up to and during the games and created a hyper targeted national media strategy to focus on the regions where these athletes were from, telling local stories about individual athlete successes happening at the Summer Games. We crafted narratives that highlighted athletes’ achievements, personal stories, and the impact of Special Olympics programs on communities.  

The Outcomes

Montpellier secured 75 pieces of regional coverage ahead of the games, focusing upon athlete’s who had been selected to represent Special Olympics GB, and a further 45 pieces of unique coverage across local UK media on individual athlete successes at the Summer Games, with 115 mentions of Special Olympics reaching an audience of 2.4 million people. This coverage was featured in prominent regional and national news outlets as well as online. We successfully highlighted the great achievements of Special Olympics GB athletes, addressing misconceptions and stereotypes, portraying individuals with intellectual disabilities in a positive light and engaged the media in constructive conversations about inclusivity and acceptance.