WPP lobbied for the NRA while its ad agencies worked on gun control PSAs

Over the last few years, the organization States United to Prevent Gun Violence has created some of the most compelling and widely circulated gun control public service announcements. In 2015, “Unload Your 401K” encouraged people to rid gun manufacturers from their investment portfolios. That same year, it opened a gun shop in New York stocked with guns used in fatal shootings. And in 2016, it released a blockbuster movie trailer to tackle the glorification and glamorization of guns. All of these campaigns were created with Grey New York, an ad agency owned by global holding company WPP.

Now, a new report in the Guardian says WPP has also had the NRA as a client since 2007. We know the NRA is a formidable advertiser, but according to the report, WPP took in about $1.46 million in lobbying fees since 2007 to help push NRA’s agenda.

I reached out to States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Grey New York, as well as Ogilvy and The Brady Campaign, who worked together last year on a Chrome app that deleted the names of killers from news and images. States United have yet to reply. The Brady campaign, through a spokesperson, said it was “not interested in commenting.” Both WPP agencies reiterated the parent company’s email statement to the Guardian. 

Our subsidiary companies will not undertake work that is intended or designed to mislead, and they operate within national laws at all times. In the U.S., our public affairs companies have representatives of both major parties among senior management, and work with clients from across the political spectrum.