Fleishman was awarded the business earlier this month after an RFP process that began last May, said Ryan Peal, GM of the agency’s Los Angeles office.
He added that the Special Olympics International organisation works with Burson-Marsteller.
Fleishman, which will collaborate with advertising agency Davis Elen over the next year and a half in preparation for the event, will promote the mission and vision of the Special Olympics both before and after the games.
The agency will focus on recruiting volunteers, increasing partner activities and raising awareness and buzz for the games. Fleishman will also highlight the achievements of Special Olympics athletes from around the globe.
In addition to raising awareness of the games and putting a spotlight on the athletes’ stories, Peal said Fleishman will work on the organisation’s Support an Athlete programme, which looks to raise money for participants. He noted that it costs about $2,500 for an athlete’s lodging, food, and transportation during the games.
The Special Olympics World Games are scheduled to open in Los Angeles on 25 July next year, marking the event’s return to the US after it was hosted in other countries for the past 16 years. The nine-day event will include 7,000 athletes and 25 Olympic-style events.
In the past, Fleishman has supported the Special Olympics with communications support for its European Games in Dublin and World Games in Minneapolis.
Representatives from Fleishman and the Special Olympics’ organising committee were not immediately available for comment.
In September 2009, the Special Olympics hired Topics Education, a Charlotte, NC-based education-outreach firm, to develop and promote its Get Into It curriculum for K-12 students. The firm was tasked with building up the curriculum, which aims to foster inclusion and understanding of people with intellectual disabilities through social media and teacher and student outreach.
The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In 2009, it helped to organise more than 700 youth-focused events around the country to stop the use of the word "retard". The previous August, it launched the website www.r-word.org as part of the cause.