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The ad industry wants student ideas to help fight gun violence

Created by ad industry nonprofit One Club and agency MullenLowe, Fight Gunfire With Fire wants to harness student creativity to raise awareness and support for stopping gun violence.

The ad industry wants student ideas to help fight gun violence

The One Club for Creativity, an ad industry nonprofit, and agency MullenLowe have launched a new initiative to solicit and support creative student ideas in the effort to curb gun violence. The strongest work will be brought to life in partnership with top advertising agencies, production and editorial companies, non-profits, and national leaders to create new active campaigns.

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It’s called Fight Gunfire With Fire, and the industry members who will be working to help students have their voices heard are some of the industry’s biggest, including MullenLowe chief creative officer Mark Wenneker, Wieden+Kennedy chief creative officer Susan Hoffman, Oscar-nominated directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 72andSunny executive creative director Keith Cartwright, Burger King’s global CMO Fernando Machado, Oscar-winning film editor Kirk Baxter, Everytown for Gun Safety creative director Ida Woldemichael, and more.

Wenneker says the idea for a broad collaboration that could elevate student ideas came from knowing that no one agency or organization had the time or resources to put up a sizeable fight against the many facets of gun violence, and that there was no one silver bullet solution.

“A couple of months ago I reached out to [One Club CEO] Kevin [Swanepoel] as both of us have or know kids whose schools had just had emergency drills, and as parents we found this extremely sobering,” says Wenneker. “Kevin immediately suggested we connect with students to give them a place where they could submit their work for considering. Their voice is imperative and crucial at this point in time. By pulling our industry resources together and partnering with the youth movement as fuel for the ‘fire’ we hope to make a bigger dent in ending gun violence.”

While gun violence and safety PSAs have long existed, the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012 marked a distinct starting point for that work to get more frequent, and with an emotional urgency not seen before. As creative, inspiring, and heartbreaking so many of these awareness campaigns have been, the reality remains that there have been 180 school shootings since Sandy Hook. Add to that the tragedies in Vegas and Orlando, among others not at schools, and it’s enough for any sane person to question the effectiveness of any of these gun violence PSAs. But the kids of Parkland changed all that.

As pointed out in Fast Company‘s 2018 Most Creative People, these teenagers have accomplished more for the cause than any other campaign that followed a mass shooting. “We made one of the largest marches in U.S. history in a matter of five weeks because we were able to coordinate, communicate, and get things done faster than anybody before us,” said 18-year-old David Hogg.

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Fight Gunfire With Fire aims to facilitate that same kind of passion and creativity from students all over the U.S., using students own ideas to inspire their peers and parents alike. In a statement, Burger King CMO Machado said, “The work of these students has inspired us all to use our talents and skills to make a real difference in our communities. I look forward to playing a role in helping fuel that Fire which has proved to be a powerful voice today.”

The organization will be reaching out to students over the next couple of weeks, as they enter summer sessions at the major portfolio schools, and start agency internship programs. Students can submit ideas over the summer at The One Club online.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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