Home > Awareness > AUTISM SPEAKS and AD COUNCIL LAUNCH NEW PSAs Featuring Tommy Hilfiger and NASCAR Driver Jamie McMurray

AUTISM SPEAKS and AD COUNCIL LAUNCH NEW PSAs Featuring Tommy Hilfiger and NASCAR Driver Jamie McMurray

In 2006, Autism Speaks partnered with the Ad Council and BBDO to produce the autism “Odds” campaign. The Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign was designed to demonstrate the odds of a child reaching milestones parents think about often compared to the much greater chances of being diagnosed with autism.  We all dream that our child will one day be a professional athlete or famous musician, but in reality the “Odds” of your child having autism are far greater. Today, we launched two new spots featuring celebrities Tommy Hilfiger and Jamie McMurray.

The campaign has been a tremendous success, generating over $300 million in donated media, earning numerous awards, and most importantly, serving as a major catalyst to the rise of autism awareness in the general public over the last five years.

Part of the campaign’s impact can be attributed to the support of celebrity advocates whose lives have been touched by autism, such as golfer Ernie Els and singer Toni Braxton. These individuals have selflessly opened up about their private lives to show the world that while they have “beat the odds” to reach the pinnacle of their respective professions, they couldn’t beat the one and 110 odds of autism affecting their families – a powerful message that educates the audience about autism prevalence and the importance of learning its signs.

Building on this success, we launched the newest “Odds” PSAs featuring fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray, who both generously donated their time to help further the cause of autism awareness. Created pro bono by BBDO, the new PSAs take viewers on a voyage through Hilfiger and McMurray’s lives, highlighting the extraordinary statistical odds they each overcame on the road to their highly successful careers and ending with the startling one in 110 odds of having a child diagnosed with autism.

To capture Hilfiger and McMurray’s stories, BBDO crafted intricate handmade fabric and paper models that were brought to life by 3D computer animation. The resulting imagery is captivating – the viewer is lulled into storybook worlds where they witness Hilfiger and McMurray’s respective journeys from humble beginnings down the road to success, before being brought back to reality by the odds of a child being diagnosed with autism. The PSAs end by encouraging parents to visit autismspeaks.org/signs to learn the signs of autism and to seek early intervention if a delay is suspected.

Autism Speaks is extremely grateful to Hilfiger and McMurray for sharing their personal stories in an effort to raise autism awareness.  We also want to express our gratitude to BBDO and the Ad Council for their hard work and continued support. We are all very proud of these new PSAs and the impact they’ll have on the general public. Please take some time to check them out and feel free to give us your feedback.

Tommy Hilfiger

Jamie McMurray


  1. November 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Amazing!! These touch your heart and engage your brain at the same time.Those of us with loved ones on the spectrum and proud and grateful for what Autism Speaks does for us. Hats off to the ad council as well.

  2. November 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Both commercials are powerful, impressive, and fantastic! Having both these Icons admitting to be affected by Autism personally is just an awesome story to share and shows ANYONE can be affected. Very moving!

  3. ConwayMom
    November 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

    May God Bless everyone who contributed to the “Odds” campaign in any way, especially these stars that have opened their private lives to help others understand how autism affects so many families.

  4. November 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you, that’s a good start. I’d like to see more like this featuring actual people with Autism who have achieved success in their lives. There’s more of us out there than most people realize, but we are often silent and have difficulty speaking out about our lives.

  5. Kathleen A. Whelan
    November 9, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Perhaps, a follow-up campaign highlighting individuals whose parents were the pioneers in advocating for early intervention therapeutic support and related services, whose young adult children are “success stories” in our communities due to strong parental involvement and home/community-based therapeutic parenting approaches which allowed these successes to be possible. I volunteer to allow my 20 year old son, a promising musician who plays more than 6 musical instruments, sings and loves performing in public. People need to hear about the dreams these young adults have, in order to foster the kind of hope that the families of newly diagnosed individuals need to hear, share and embrace. We need to move beyond campaigns of fear into campaigns of hope, and to let people know that the sacrifices families must make for this to be possible, are totally worth it!!! ~Kathleen A. Whelan

    • Tanya
      November 11, 2011 at 10:06 am

      Another success story I know of is Raun Kaufman from the Son-Rise program who was severely autistic as a child and with the help of devoted parents who developed their own treatment program, overcame autism and is now running a treatment center helping other autisitic children to recover. I remember seeing a movie based on his life when I was a teenager. Never knew autism would eventually affect my life. I used some of the Son-Rise techniques to help my son improve.

      For anyone interested, here is the site with lots of free information: http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/

  6. Sarah
    November 9, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Great idea to get the celebs to open up…I had know idea TImmy Hilfiger had a child in his family with autism.. thanks for sharing.

  7. November 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I would like to know if Autism is handed down from an ancesster, if so, does it skip generations. I know a lad who is a first cousin three times removed of an Autism lad.

  8. November 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    I love these PSAs, they are educational and very stylistic with how the statistics are given. If you want another person in the entertainment field to do another PSA I would suggest an actor by the name of Jim Beaver. His daughter is living with autism and he supports the cause too.

  9. November 11, 2011 at 6:48 am

    <3 it!

  10. Victoria Naji
    November 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Amazing! I have a 13 year old Autistic son and have just viewed both videos and I wept. Thank you much needed for out world that demands and expects perfection! Keep up the innovative messages for our children need advocates everywhere!

  11. Timothy Marchand
    November 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Wow, can’t say much else. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Manya
    November 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Great idea! I love what Autism Speaks is doing. Keep up the good work. Thank you to all who share their story.

  13. Amy
    November 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you!! I found both very moving. We need more celebs to come out with thier stories, to help awareneess. That’s the key to everything for our children.

  14. November 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Nice to see , that it’s just not average people who have children with autism. Of my 3 kids, 2 have autism, and my niece is being tested… So when famous people stand up and show that they too, have some one they love with autsim, maybe then will resources and funding will follow… I am glad that they are part of the new ads…

  15. November 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    love them.. I have a son with aspergers and just love autism is starting to get more awareness out there for people to know more about it.. thank you..

  16. November 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    These ads are great. I have a son with autism. I am sure it is just me and my busy schedule, but is the first ad indicating that Tommy Hilfiger has autism or his daughter? Sorry, it may be obvious to everyone but me!!!

  17. Lara
    November 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    It amazes me every day how wide the autism community is. I sometimes feels overwhelmed and alone, and then I see something like this and remember I am NOT alone, even though it might feel that way sometimes. Maybe even people I will never meet and who are much more influential on the general public then I could ever hope to be are also feeling the same way I do sometimes. Not that I would wish autism on anyone, still I’m glad there are others out there that know what I am going through and helping to educate the rest of the world because I think that is the key to our children’s success. I applaud these people and have tremendous respect for them and what they are trying to accomplish, not just for their own loved one with autism, but for everyone, everywhere in the world who has an ASD.

  18. isuliban
    November 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    The ads are good, However the word EPIDEMIC is still missing,WHY if 1/110 children were born with just about any other affliction it would be an EPIDEMIC!

  19. Qasim Al-Dossari
    November 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    It is really excellent clips and i wish that we have, is Saudi Arabia, such support from the famous and loving celebrities.

    My sun Abdullah is an autistic kid and he is a 13 years old. Thanks :)

  20. Roy Bryant
    November 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Wow! Great work! It’s very heart warming to see the exposure this terrible disease it getting. I’ve never bought a single piece of Tommy Hilfiger clothing but that will change because I wish him to continue to succeed. Another celebrity to consider would be Emily Colson, the author of “Dancing with Max”.

    • paula
      November 14, 2011 at 6:29 am

      it is not a terrible disease!!!! Having a son with ASD proves those affected to be very special individuals which are capable of many achievements with the right care and support!!

    • Emmett Doyle
      November 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      Every child loves being told the integral, inseparable part of their being is a terrible disease

  21. November 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I have a couple of things to say here.
    First, Roy Bryant, autism is not a “terrible disease”. It is a neurological disorder which affects those afflicted by it in different ways, and to different degrees. And while it may be debilitating for some, many autistics feel that it is actually a benefit to them in many ways.
    Second, while I believe your (Autism Speaks) intentions are good, I am having trouble understanding why your PSA ads are still directing attention to how families are affected by autism. When will you realize that autism isn’t about us? You should be focusing your attention on how the “public” treats autistics. How about including THEM in your ads, instead of a couple of celebrities who have autistic family members? Show the world just how much autistic individuals have to offer the world, instead of talking about how they “affect” their families. That, IMHO, would be truly productive. You asked for comments. I hope that you will view them constructively, rather than just the ones praising your work, which seems to keep missing the mark when it comes to be true to your name: “Autism Speaks”.

  22. Jean Snow
    November 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    These are wonderful! Using pop culture always draws more people in to watch. I do agree some of the comments above that the word “epidemic” needs to be used.

  23. November 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    http://thautcast.com/drupal5/content/bizarre-new-autism-speaks-ad-campaign

    It’s really well-intended campaign and some of the animation is nice.

    But it continues two of the central negative messages that Autism Speaks has always promoted. First, it suggests that all autistic people are unable to speak for ourselves and need family members to speak for us. That is true for some people, to varying degrees. But most autistic people can talk. Most autistic people are not children. And it is when we talk, not when neurotypical celebrities do, that autism really speaks, even if those NTs stars have autistic relatives.

    Second, the commercials suggest that what really matters about autism is how it affects family members. They don’t see autism as part of what makes some people who they are but as something that happens to families.

  24. the Professor
    November 13, 2011 at 3:15 am

    As a person born with Aspergers in 1943, I often wondered why people thought so much differently then me. It was like they totally missed the whole picture. I’ve been very successful in life due to my amazing thinking abilities, but I’ve also been challenged in developing normal relationships with people. I wouldn’t want to change places with anyone with a normal mind, but I often wonder how differently I might be today had I any idea of what was going on with my mind when I was a child rather then finding out when I was in my 50s.

  25. Joanne
    November 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Love them…thanks!

  26. November 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Those are very well done and moving. Thank you.

  27. Emmett Doyle
    November 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Same old narrative as always….. autistics are all children, let the non-autistics speak for us all, autistics are a burden…. disappointing

  28. Judy Rolon
    November 22, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I am so…..excited to see these commercial advertisement. I was hoping that soon someone could advertise and make others aware of this disability. Thank you so much for making it happen!!

  29. Audrey
    November 26, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I have an 11 year old son with autism who also happens to be a big NASCAR fan. I knew that Jamie Mcmurray had a niece with autism, but did not know about Tommy Hilfiger. Watching the ads brought me to tears. Very powerful and moving ads-both of them. Thank you.

  1. November 17, 2011 at 1:47 am

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