Fish don't get wet

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Alain Afflelou, the French optical retailer was looking for a friendly way to have presence in schools giving quality impact on teachers and also, on children without any objection from the parents’ associations. At the same time, Invest for children Foundation, wanted to explain Downs Syndrome to children in a long-term project.

Havas Media discovered that 75% of people with Downs syndrome have difficulty with vision and statistics show the in Spain there are 34,000 people with Down syndrome. With this notion Havas joined the two brands and took the challenge in creating a meaningful project that would be able to surprise and draw the attention of our most demanded target: children between 6 and 10 years old and their teachers.

Its main goal was to educate children and teachers about Downs Syndrome by demonstrating with facts that children who are affected with Down Syndrome are capable of doing the same things of those kids who are not.


Havas Media came up with the idea of a visual project to help integrate people with this intellectual disability into schools throughout Spain. The agency realised that the best way to explain Downs syndrome to children is from children themselves. As individuals who work in advertising, Havas Media thought the best way to work with children is through ideas and creativity.

It started this project off with what it knew best and that is giving them a briefing about the project. The agency proposed an action plan where 12 children total will participate six of them with Downs syndrome and turn them into stars. The children together created a wonderful story and then it was turned into an animated short film. Glasses and lenses became particularly relevant in the story because one of the main characters wore glasses. It made perfect sense that Alain Afflelou became the producer of the short film.


Supervised by experts, Havas filmed each part of the process from brainstorming with the 12 children to the creation of each of the characters. This was an exceptional experience and project. The story was produced with the help of two well-known journalists, Carmen Barceló and Manuel Fuentes. They were so involved in the writing of the script and it couldn’t have been better even if it was done in Hollywood.

The children composed the soundtrack and many celebrities collaborated in the voice-overs. Finally, the kids came up with the tittle: ‘Fish don’t get wet because… they have umbrellas’ The results were great. The cooperation, interaction and enthusiasm between the 12 children were incredible. They created a wonderful story showing how people from different origins, tastes, and looks end up being friends in a chaotic world. They made a unique educational DVD and booklet that they shared with teachers, parents and journalists.

The animated short film was sent to 600 schools along with a documentary with learning activities to explore social inclusion even further. Social Networks, WOM and publicity did the rest. After eight months of the launch campaign, the teaching community wanted to replicate the experience locally and asked Alain Afflelou to create the first educational virtual platform for the Spanish speaking community:

In addition, Alain Afflelou launched a campaign to donate free glasses to children with Downs Syndrome and also created the very first statistical study of children with Downs Syndrome and their vision issues. These statistics will help doctors and opticians improve their diagnosis demonstrating the real commitment of the Brand with the project.


The first conference was a huge success, with 0 media investment thanks to the media covered, reaching a total of 13 million people. La 2, from TVE, broadcasted the complete film despite the fact that no advertising is allowed in public television in Spain. The project entered in schools in a friendly way.

During the first quarter after the launch of the campaign, more than 600 schools had already worked with “Los Peces no se Mojan” understanding that Down Syndrome is not a problem but an opportunity to learn for all of us. This translates into over 35,000 students plus their teachers that have allowed Alain Afflelou to be an active part of their educational program.

Many positive comments about the project on several blogs showed that it is a useful tool for teachers and parents. Alain Afflelou gave almost 900 free glasses with a value of approximately €210,000 ($292,000) and also created the first statistical study of children with Down Syndrome and their vision issues. This will help doctors and opticians to improve their diagnosis. Extracted data thanks to free glasses campaign.

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Invest for Children Foundation
March - December 2013
Havas Media
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