Special Olympics Skeletons See the Athlete First

The Special Olympics is running an advertising campaign, “Be a Fan”, raising awareness of the Special Olympics being held in Vancouver. The campaign includes “Skeleton”, a television commercial that encourages viewers to see the athlete first. The spot features Mario Ogunbowale, a 21-year-old Special Olympics athlete from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who currently competes in basketball, track and bowling.

Special Olympics Skeletons

CG-animated skeletons run down the basketball court, their bodies being built up layer by layer. Their organs appear, followed by their nervous system and skin. Finally we’re shown Mario Ogunbowale, fully formed, with the super, “See the Athlete First”.

Click on the image below to play the video.

The PSA can be viewed on the Special Olympics You Tube channel.


The Special Olympics campaign was developed pro bono at BBDO New York by chief creative officers David Lubars and Bill Bruce, creative director/art director/copywriter Pierre Lipton, creative director/art director James Clunie, account manager Joshua Steinman, sound and music producer Rani Vaz.

Filming was shot by UFO directing team The Holograms via The Ebeling Group with producer Theresa Ward and director of photography Yves Kohen.

CGI & Animation were produced at Mathematic by designers Vincent Viriot and FX Pourre, animators Frédéric Petit, Nicolas Dabos and Sebastien Eballard. See more on behind the scenes at mathematic.tv

Music was composed and donated by Antfood.

Ogunbowale was selected by Special Olympics to showcase his basketball skills in the global PSA after Special Olympics Wisconsin submitted his name for consideration after Mario’s team received the gold medal at the Wisconsin State Special Olympic Games earlier in 2009. Ogunbowale plays on the Milwaukee Blazers Special Olympics basketball team and enthusiastically showcased his personality to his fans after their gold medal win. Ogunbowale started competing with Special Olympics at age 16 and currently competes in basketball, track and bowling.

Special Olympics, through sport, has been working to change attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities and help society see their capabilities. Throughout the world, according to research, the public significantly underestimates the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities which creates social stigmas and severely limits opportunities for them to participate in society. Due to the great vision of founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympic movement has been working to dispel misunderstanding and build communities of acceptance and respect for all.