As Advertising Age reports, “Gun safety advocacy group Evolve is spreading its own version of “stop, drop and roll” and “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” to gun owners. The nonprofit is rolling out a new ad campaign this week that uses star power, humor and media prowess to push its call to action to Americans: ‘clear it, check it, lock it.'” The firearms safety org’s out with another of their slickly-produced videos, featuring spokesnoid Josh Lucas strolling down Main Street, USA while copious amounts of (presumably) negligent gunfire ricochets around him . . .
Yes, it’s an effective bit of hyperbole employed to make their point. And their target audience is far wider than just experienced firearm owners. Still, by exaggerating the amount of ballistic oopsies for effect, the ad may alienate more than a few People of the Gun.
The ad is meant to have broader appeal than its predecessors. Evolve’s most recent spot “Playthings,” which featured two mortified moms who find their sons having a sword fight with sex toys, aimed to get people talking about gun safety, in particular parents. But it alienated people who weren’t amused by dildo jokes. And “The Bill of Rights for Dumbasses” — Evolve’s first push introducing it as a “third voice” in the gun debate — spoke mainly to gun owners.
This time around, Evolve set out to reach all Americans — a tall order. Like campaigns that tackle drunk driving — “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” — Evolve believes gun safety is everyone’s responsibility, not just gun owners.
Fair enough. And if you catch that half-second message that flashes at the end, Evolve also wants to create a National Gun Safety Day to drive their non-political point (think Shannon’s orange shirt fiasco, only with some tangible emphasis on safety for real gun owners, rather than a thinly-veiled disarmament push).
“This should be the big duh,” said Con Williamson, chief creative officer at Erwin Penland and a former creative at Saatchi & Saatchi, where he worked on Evolve’s first ad campaign. “I want people supporting it who aren’t on one side of a political view. I want people who talk about guns and share guns. I want the NRA to begrudgingly say, ‘Goddammit. This is good.'”
The first Evolve spot was well produced, though largely ignored. Their second effort was unquestionably lulz-worthy, got a lot of play nationally, though arguably failed to move the safety needle…their stated goal. Is this Evolve message “the big duh” that will get more people thinking about gun safety?