Cannes Lions

Calm Cabins

DONER, Southfield / CHRYSLER / 2024

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Any form of travel can be extremely stressful for children with autism and their families, with road travel cited as one of the most chaotic and overstimulating examples. In an Autism Travel survey of 1,000 parents, 97% said they aren’t satisfied with current travel options for families with autistic individuals. Meanwhile, 93% said they’d be more likely to travel if autism-certified options were available.

Chrysler has long been committed to finding real solutions for real families. In this case, we were challenged to create positive change for autistic passengers and their loved ones. Our goal was to show the Autism Community that Chrysler understands the difference between autism "awareness" and "acceptance," by teaming up with a respected organization to create a certifiable solution to the noisy, uncomfortable and unpredictable nature of road travel.

Idea

"Calm rooms" provide a therapeutic escape for children with sensory sensitivities, who may feel overstimulated while at school, the doctors office, a hotel, or any other place outside the home. But getting to these places by car remains a notorious challenge. Even the anticipation of an upcoming ride can cause stress to a child with autism.

Our idea was simple: Give caregivers a way to transform any Chrysler Pacifica into a mobilized calm room experience.

We wanted to create an environment that children with autism might actually look forward to riding in; An extension of the comforts and resources they have at home. By doing this, not only would their ride become less stimulating, they would have a calm room to escape to wherever they go.

Strategy

Research suggests that 93% of parents would be more likely to travel if autism-certified solutions were available. From the beginning, our goal was to find a partner the Autism Community trusts, who could vouch for and certify that the Calm Cabin was a helpful solution to overstimulating road travel.

Partnering with the Autism Society of America gave Chrysler credibility within the Autism Community and allowed us to broaden our target demographic beyond auto enthusiasts.

Working with the Autism Society, we timed the unveiling of the Calm Cabin program to coincide with the New York International Auto Show, which happens to take place during Autism Acceptance Month. This live unveiling increased exposure to the project and gave the media access to the CEOs of both Chrysler and The Autism Society for content.

Execution

The Calm Cabin package offers a variety of methods proven to help individuals with autism recenter focus and de-escalate stress, including: a meditative light and sound therapy device, active noise-cancellation, app-enabled touch screens, weighted sensory blankets, soft-touch sensory pillows, velvet seatbelt sleeves and backseat fidget organizers.

To help us assemble the package and add credibility to the program, we enlisted help from The Autism Society of America, one of the most respected nonprofit organizations helping the Autism Community.

We introduced the first Pacifica Calm Cabin at the New York Auto Show during Autism Acceptance month, with a live presentation from the Chrysler brand and Autism Society CEOs, as well as an introductory film which was then posted on YouTube and all of Chrysler's and The Autism Society's social channels.

Outcome

The launch of the Chrysler Calm Cabin drew praise from both the Autism Community and the Auto Industry, reaching 700 million people and inspiring over 265 articles and posts. The package received news coverage with special segments on CBS, ABC and FOX. Motor Trend called the package a "Safe and quiet cocoon for those with autism," while Disability Scoop deemed the Calm Cabin "A sensory supported mobile experience."

Overall, conversations about the Calm Cabin exhibited 99% positive sentiment and showed the world that Chrysler is willing to go the extra mile to make road travel safer and more enjoyable for the Autism Community.

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