The four-minute music video entitled “Enough!” begins with a young student entering his school and passing a table where other kids are encouraging everyone to vote in a student election. The young student is handed a balloon that accidentally pops. The noise rings out like a gunshot. Everyone freezes in fear.
What happens next only works in these sorts of stylized musicals. Instead of staying frozen or running away, some kids choose to dance, striking balletic moves to an uplifting pop anthem that’s rich with symbolism. The election goes on! More kids carry balloons that don’t pop! Soon everyone is kicking up heels, united, and happy again!
At the end of the video, the screen flashes with some staggering but by now sadly familiar statistics, including that 3 million American children experience gun violence every year. But kids can also help change that: There’s a text-to-learn-more moment for Students Demand Action, a gun control group for high school and college students looking to make gun safety a priority on campuses and through better legislation.
Students Demand Action is an offshoot of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the grassroots campaign arm of nonprofit funder Everytown for Gun Safety. The video was made in partnership with the National Dance Institute, a nonprofit that offers free dance programming in schools that’s aimed toward promoting inclusion, confidence, and empowerment. (The team behind it includes ballet icons Robbie Fairchild and Ezra Hurwitz, and choreographer James Alsop, who has worked with Beyoncé and Sia, whose song “I’m Still Here” anchors the action.)
Everytown is promoting it online, alongside a host of recent ads aimed at rallying support among young people, people of color, and female voters ahead of midterms. “We have seen that gun safety is a salient issue with voters,” says Brynne Craig, the group’s political director in an email to Fast Company. “We know that voters will go to the polls with gun safety top of mind on November 6.”
Since late September, Everytown has committed $5 million to a separate online voter turnout campaign called “Not One More,” which includes running ads that favored gun safety candidates in 16 of the congressional districts across 11 states that may determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Wieden+Kennedy created several ads for that effort.
“Part of the thinking with this campaign was that we have the ability to appeal to voters who care about gun violence prevention, but don’t traditionally vote in the midterms,” says Craig. “We’re reminding these audiences that in order to reduce gun violence, these voters need to come out and vote.”
“The images for all of the different ads are all too familiar to us—memorials, scenes of grieving families, children rushing out of schools following a shooting,” she adds. “Many of the voters we are reaching can personally relate to these devastating scenes.”