Gun violence and gun safety PSAs have long existed, but since the 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook, that work became more frequent, and with an emotional urgency we had rarely seen before. As creative, inspiring, and heartbreaking so many of these awareness campaigns have been, the reality is that there have been 180 school shootings in the intervening years, not to mention the tragedies in Vegas and Orlando, among others not at schools. Which is enough for any sane person to question the effectiveness of any of these gun violence PSAs. But the kids of Parkland changed all that, reinvigorating the debate and call to action like never before. And now an inspired collection of ad industry execs and agencies, led by The One Club and MullenLowe, are kicking off a new initiative that aims to use the power and scale of the creative communication industry to amplify the ideas young people have to help solve this issue. Onward!
Fight Gunfire With Fire “The Brief”
What: A new ad industry initiative that encourages and facilitates students to put their own creative ideas to work toward the cause of stopping gun violence.
Who: The One Club for Creativity, MullenLowe
Why we care: Asking students to submit work is one thing, but what makes this different is the level of collaborators gathered here to help get it made and seen by the world. Names like 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, and Everytown for Gun Safety creative director Ida Woldemichael. Combining student enthusiasm and passion, with some of the best industry experience is a new, inspiring approach to a persistent and tragic problem.
Nike “The Tattoo”
What: Nike ad that dramatizes the origins of LeBron’s “Chosen 1” tattoo to celebrate his eighth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Portland, director Hiro Murai
Why we care: Directed by Hiro Murai, the celebrated lensman of Donald Glover’s acclaimed series Atlanta, the ad uses off-camera mystery to great effect, and barely any words to tell a whole story. The only downside is, at just under a minute long, it actually feels a bit rushed, cut short, leaving the viewer wanting more–or at least a 90-second version.
What: An outdoor ad campaign in Brazil that utilizes Google search in a fun way.
Who: Budweiser, Africa
Why we care: Created by São Paulo-based ad agency Africa, this outdoor campaign cleverly dodges image rights costs by simply suggesting people Google a few specific terms. It’s like Mindy Kaling’s highly suggestive search gimmick for McDonald’s, except for beer and music.
Goiko Grill “Goiko Hungry Field”
What: A real-time promotion from a Spanish burger chain that got popular gamers to integrate the message into their video game sessions watched by millions.
Who: Goiko Grill, Young & Rubicam
Why we care: During a six-hour promotion during game play on gaming platforms like Steam, PS4, and XBOX, Goiko Grill got popular gamers to write promotional codes with gunshots on walls and other objects within Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Rainbow Six. Other players and spectators who screencapped the code and shared it on their social networks with #GOIKOHUNGRYFIELD got a free meal. According to the agency, the campaign got nearly 4 million media impressions and increased interactions with the brand by 470%. Numbers aside, it’s a unique way to embed a brand into gaming content. With one caveat: It has to be an incredibly rare situation, because if all of a sudden gamers were constantly dropping brand messages into their gameplay, fans would start ditching them in droves.
What: A World Cup-inspired spot from Powerade that has one old-timer dreaming of his very own Victory.
Who: Powerade, Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Why we care: Okay, of course this is incredibly silly, but with some A-plus casting, and the most ridiculously slow-motion bicycle kick ever, it’s just ridiculous enough to work.