For a certain subject of anti-government types, shotguns and paranoia about drones are the equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate. That’s something that Utah-based Silencer manufacturer SilencerCo recognized in promoting their new shotgun silencer, the Salvo 12.
“Shotgun silencer” has long been an oxymoron–despite Javier Bardem’s character in No Country For Old Men making it look so effective, but the Salvo 12 is apparently the real deal, and to reach the sort of person who needs their shotgun to be silent, they created a mascot in the form of “Johnny Dronehunter: Defender of Privacy.”
Johnny Dronehunter is basically the paranoid, anti-government version of Mayor McCheese, representing that constituency as an appealing, if subversive, simulacrum for their own love of silent shotguns (and/or cheeseburgers). In the spot, which is billed as a “trailer” for the Salvo 12, Johnny Dronehunter cruises through the desert in his four-door hardtop (sans license plate, obviously), when he spots a flying object behind him. Given that his name is Johnny Dronehunter, our hero pulls over, hops out of the car, and makes quick work of a series of drones that–at least in this first spot featuring the character–are pursuing him for an unknown reason. (Also unknown: why JD needs a silencer for a shotgun if he’s out in the middle of nowhere–but maybe that’s just none of your damn business.) After making short work out of the drones, our hero stands in his leather vest-wearing, head-shaven, goatee-sporting, Timberlands-equipped, aviators-adorned, tattooed glory like the supreme Defender of Privacy that he is.
“We wanted to use this video to energize the ongoing discourse about privacy in a creative way,” the head of SilencerCo told Motherboard. “We created Johnny Dronehunter and intend to continue a series of videos in this vein with him as the main character to represent the Americans who feel they don’t have an appropriate voice in this privacy debate.”
Comments on the ad’s YouTube page (where the ad sits with over 80,000 views at the moment) are largely from people who, we suspect, would consider driving out to the desert with a shotgun to blow away drones to be an all-time great weekend. (With a few drone-flying hobbyists weighing in with a counterpoint, naturally.) For all the jokes we can make about the stylistic choices of Johnny Dronehunter, it’s interesting to note how a fairly marginalized segment of the population–i.e., people who wish that their shotguns were quieter–responds to marketing targeted directly to them. Mostly, it seems, it’s enthusiasm.