Medium and message: The Down's Syndrome Association

The Down's Syndrome Association is taking full advantage of the largesse of the advertising industry.

Paul Nobel has become something of a celebrity. As the face of a new hard-hitting poster by the Down's Syndrome Association, he can currently be seen on 1,650 billboards around the country.

Using phrases such as "I have special needs: a job" and "you've now been looking at Paul longer than an employer ever has", the campaign highlights the poor job prospects of people with Down's Syndrome. The campaign came about after the association was offered billboard and poster space for free. The creative agency Hurrell and Dawson also agreed to work on a pro bono basis.

Marie Benton, communications manager at the association, says: "With an annual operating need of £1.9m, it was the only way we could afford to run a campaign like this. Department of Health figures show that just 16 per cent of people with learning disabilities are in paid employment. We think that is pretty shocking, and we wanted to convey that in the campaign. We have been encouraged by the response."

The association has been contacted by interested employers, and Nobel has been interviewed by national newspapers.

Carol Boys, chief executive of the association, says: "Most employers don't realise what many adults with Down's Syndrome can be capable of. We hope that our work will help level the playing field for people with the condition when it comes to being taken seriously as employees."

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