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These award-winning gun control campaigns show how to creatively take on the gun lobby

Two ads with very different perspectives both make a compelling case for stronger gun control.

These award-winning gun control campaigns show how to creatively take on the gun lobby

“This is Christine Lin reporting from the scene of another shooting we’ll say we never saw coming,” says a newscaster in a pro gun-control ad called Tomorrow’s News.

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It’s a public service announcement developed by BBDO New York for Sandy Hook Promise, which trains students and adults to spot the signs of potential gun violence. The spot features the newscaster reporting live from another school shooting–except one day before the fictitious event might actually occur.

It’s one of two gun different gun control campaigns that recently earned awards from D&AD Impact, an advertising industry mark of accomplishment from a British charity that promotes excellence in design and advertising. But each was also remarkably different, highlighting just how creative cause groups are becoming in spreading their message.

The second, an awareness raising effort called Price On Our Lives, features sets of oversize orange price tags created by McCann New York for March For Our Lives, a protest group encouraging stricter firearm reforms that’s anchored by the high-school age survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. March For Our Lives began distributing flyers with the value $1.05 printed in big bold numbers at rallies–that’s the amount that the NRA donates to politicians in Florida divided by the number of students in the state–to calculate the value assigned to each life. The effort included an online widget for folks in any state to print their own and donate to the cause.

“Both Price On Our Lives and Tomorrow’s News force you to think intensely about the subject of gun violence,” says Tim Lindsay, CEO of D&AD in an email to Fast Company. “They take one aspect of the multi-faceted issue and hold it under a microscope–compelling us to reflect on our own thoughts and actions. And both do it in clever, effective and–more than anything–poignant ways.

As the video below shows, Tomorrows News was anchored by the statistic that every day 93 people in the U.S. die from gun violence. “[It] centers on that idea that when we hear about a mass shooting there’s an inevitability that it will happen again, soon,” Lindsay says.

Following a different tactic, Price On Our Lives looks at the cold math behind all this suffering. “[It] looks at the issue specifically at a financial and political level… putting gun crime into the context of dollars and cents to hold politicians into account,” Lindsay adds.

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“These campaigns are powerful because they force us to address our own feelings about specific parts of the conversation we might not have considered. Why do we resign ourselves to the fact that shootings are the norm in U.S.A.? Why are we happy for politicians to receive thousands and sometimes millions of dollars from the NRA? Questions we don’t perhaps have answers to yet.”

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About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.

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