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“Gun manufacturers have been highly successful in employing some of the most effective marketing techniques in the book,” Liana Downey writes at “Gun ads have long used the technique known in the business as ‘fear appeal.'” Ms. Downey compares gun advertising to deodorant ads (seriously) and asserts that guns aren’t the answer to criminality. They’re too dangerous!

No doubt “inspired” by the publicity lavished on The Gunning of America, Ms. Downey shares author Pamela Haag’s belief that American gun owners are marketing manipulated rubes.

For citizens who have been raised in this advertising-rich environment, which comfortably equates guns and safety, sexiness, and manliness, it can be hard to see the marketing for what it is. Perhaps it is easier if we think about cigarettes—which were also presented as the ultimate sexy accessory for years (manly men, and seductive, sophisticated women), that we can start to see that there is not always truth in advertising.

Ah, the pusillanimous pussification of America! Manly men (among men) doing manly things are sexist pigs, really.

More to the point, gun ads exist in a vacuum. Unless you’re one of The People of the Gun exploring the gunblogopshere or gunzines, you have less chance of coming across a firearms-related advertisement than you have finding huntress and Texas Firearms Festival promotetrix Liberte Austin at a PETA meeting.

Does that stop anti-gun rights jihadis from vilifying advertising created for a legal product sold legally? Of course not! The fact that the courts haven’t thrown out the Sandy Hook-related lawsuit against Bushmaster — the one that claims their advertising posed a danger to society — highlights the increasing popularity of this new form of anti-gun animus.

. . . as advertising fuels profit growth, so too does it fuel the ability of manufacturers to finance political campaigns and gain political sway. Thus while sensible solutions proposed by frustrated and frightened citizens are repeatedly blocked, other laws are passed that make guns more widely available and more accessible. And so the gun grows, the cycle continues, and the rest of the world looks on in bewilderment.

Before I conclude, may I respectfully say F the rest of the world? I lived abroad for 13 years; I spent many of those traveling to every corner of the globe. I can say without reservation that America is singular in the liberty it affords its citizens.

So if the rest of the world is “bewildered” by America’s gun culture, which underpins our freedom like butter underpins French cuisine. If they look down their collective noses at our 2A-protected gun rights, see above.

My only conclusion: the same argument I’ve been making here again and again. This country needs more firearms advertising, not less. If gun makers could make the case for gun rights via advertising in mainstream media — TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, large websites, etc. — it would be case closed. As well it should be.

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  1. It’s actually pretty revealing that she compares guns to cigarettes. Cigarettes have been successfully stigmatized, but smoking tobacco is an activity that some people enjoy and that harms only the user. Yeah, secondhand smoke is a thing, but it’s not much different from errant gunfire. Both shooting and smoking can be done responsibly, in a way that doesn’t adversely effect anyone else. So, of course, the left wants to eradicate both.

    • More importantly, you cannot kill an innocent passerby, or rob them, with a cigarette. All the damage was to the user other than annoyance of innocent bystanders who didn’t like the smoke.

      With firearms the user has to either ignore the four simple safety rules or willfully WANT to misuse the product before anything harmful happens to anyone, even the user him/herself.

      Another point, just try to protect yourself from a criminal intent on mischief by producing a cigarette.

    • sort of…you can shoot all you want, not bother anybody else, and not cost anybody but yourself any money for your hobby. A reduction in smoking has proven to reduce some of the massive strain on our socialized (i.e. funded by those that carry their own weight) medical system. many who partake are fine with others to pay for their choice to smoke (and eat like pigs), so we all have a say. like saying i like to shoot, so you will pay for my gun repair and cleaning.

      • Of course in the UK the findings were that smokers paid into their socialized health care system more than they took out, since, by dying earlier, they didn’t linger on into the medically expensive twilight years.

        I’m pretty sure that the numbers on both sides of that coin are small enough individually that they have to take collective measurements just to justify whichever position they’d like to justify.

    • Actually, there’s no evidence of “second hand smoke” damaging anyone’s health. Look it up– it’s true. All the anti-smoking laws are based on an assumption. The studies repeatedly found a null result. Politicians did not care. And that sounds like the way they treat the “gun problem” as well. Ignore the evidence; legislate by feeling.

  2. Stigmatizing guns is at the core of the anti’s long game. They want to marginalize the objects, their owners, and their use. Divide and conquer.

    • Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Number 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

      We see this ALL the time from anti-freedom tyrant-wannabe statists, by which I mean the Democrat party.

      • Did you notice in the primaries how Trump used Rule #12 to great effect?

        “Little Marco”, “Lying Ted”, “No energy Jeb”, etc, etc.

        Now it’s “Crooked Hillary”, and it’s *working*. Over 70 percent think she broke the law with her private server.

        Kinda sweet when Alinsky can be used against Progressives, Isn’t it? 🙂

        • Well she did break the law with her server.

          It is nice to see them being beat with their own tactics, but it also bothers me seeing a need to use such tactics to disseminate truth.

    • To be grammatically (as opposed to politically) correct, promoter applies to a male. The suffix -ette would be added, as in promotette for a maiden (young woman) or -trix as in promotetrix for a matron involved in the activity of promotion.

      This is often considered archaic, but is none the less correct and accurate.

      • Despite the general boycott of any advertising even remotely connected to firearms in the MSM (print, broadcast or otherwise), gun sales continue to set records, month after month, year after year.

        So their entire argument falls flat on its face.

        • In the STL (a top 20 ADI), sporting good company ads featuring guns and their sales are pretty common. As well as a bunch of LGSs, and tactical training programs.

          The worm slowly turns…

  3. Yeah f@#k the rest of the world. I’m happy my forebears left Europe for American freedom…BTW fear does sell. I’ve sold life insurance, windows,medical and burglar alarms. Fear drives the world…

  4. What do you need an AK for?

    If someone asks the above, then he is a she or he needs his man card revoked. Seriously, for most guns just show them and its enough. Most guys get gun-wood just by looking at them; only some guys are honest enough to admit it.

    • Isn’t it amazing, since you brought up the subject, how many would-be criminals “get wood” at the thought of victimizing others but suddenly lose it and have their balls shrivel up when confronted with an intended victim who is armed and ready to protect themselves.

      Thousands of YouTube videos will attest to this fact.

  5. “Unless you’re one of The People of the Gun exploring the gunblogopshere or gunzines, you have less chance…”

    I can’t agree with this enough. Maybe I just don’t listen to the right radio or watch the right TV or travel to the right places but the only gun advertising I’ve ever seen are billboards advertising the existence of a gun show and a singular billboard advertising a LGS. None of the advertising I’ve ever seen that’s going to be viewed by the general public when they’re not looking for gun ads or at gun related stuff has ever had a picture of a firearm, promoted macho nonsense or anything else. It’s been text.

    • +1

      I can still remember the ONLY gun advertisement that I have seen in the last 20 years — it was a commercial for Glock handguns about two years ago on something sort of mainstream. Other than that, there is not gun advertising.

      Speaking of advertising, no advertisements played any role whatsoever in my purchase of a Mossberg 500 shotgun, a Smith and Wesson M&P40 handgun, a Ruger GP-100 revolver, or Kel-Tec SUB-2000 carbine in .40 S&W. I purchased all of those because they had the features that I wanted and reviews that indicated they were reliable.

      • Same here. Advertising has driven none of my over 35 gun purchases.

        Originally my dad gave me a .22 rifle and pistol. All other guns I used before I moved out were his guns.

        In college I was living off campus in a really shitty neighborhood where gunshots, home invasions and just general violence and thuggery were the norm. So I bought a $215 SKS because the gangbangers had AK’s and I couldn’t afford one. The day I turned 21 I bought a Star BM because of the reputation Star had for being reliable and a $200 price tag.

        And that’s how a monster was born. After that I hunted for deals, and to this day I still do. The only gun in the family that was purchased for MSRP, well close to it, was the wife’s G21. I’m so good at it all my friends use me a the bloodhound/haggler when they want a gun but don’t want to get bent over on the price.

        • *smirk*

          Ha! 9!!!
          My brother from a different mother!
          W O R D .

          Live long bro, I gotcher 6…

        • $215 for an SKS? You poor youngsters. 😉

          Back in the ’90s, you’d get an SKS and a spam can for $100. Or a nice Norinco AK for $120.

          Ahh, nostalgia…

        • @16V

          While I may have paid more than double for my SKS, I’m still at least a decade younger than you, so it’s a doubled edged sword.

        • strych9, True, true double-edged sword. You’ve got 10 years of ‘studying abroad’ to catch up on… 😉

  6. The only form of gun advertising that I pay any attention to is gun reviews, and not the fawning ones either. Almost all ads are shown on channels I don’t get (not that I watch must television to begin with), or in gun mags that I don’t read. Most of the guns I really want I’ve wanted for years, and a lot of those I can’t afford or are not available iin California.

  7. I just read an article about how the University of Wisconsin-Stout removed paintings depicting Native-Americans because their “Diversity Leadership Team” said that these pictures somehow risked “having a harmful effect on our students and other viewers.” I thought the pictures were wonderful, and being Native-American, I was rather offended that pictures of Native-American’s would scare our poor college students. Anyhow, this and many other things I see tell me that this country is in trouble. We are raising a generation of cowards who do not have the gallantry and virtue to rise up against tyranny…against evil…or even recognize that the freedoms other’s fought for are about to be taken away.

  8. The only firearms ads I see are tied into firearms-specific media sources. Occasionally I’ll see a billboard or plane banner for a gun show but those are rare.

    Oh but the local country radio station does gladly accept ads from gun shops…kind of an exception.

    • Yep. I mentioned this here a few days ago.

      FN is running a *national* ad campaign off-and-on on syndicated right-wing talk radio stations. It sounds like they are rotating it in different markets…

  9. This whole meme of firearms manufacturers selling fear is utter and complete bull$hit.

    What actually sells firearms? Answer: when reality hits home. There was a dicey armed home invasion three doors away from me just a few days ago that really rattled the neighbors in our nice, quiet, out-of-the-way neighborhood. I guarantee that event will push at least one neighbor over the edge to purchase their first firearm. In the spirit of full disclosure, the 20 minute response time for the state police to show up will probably play a considerable role as well in pushing people to purchase their first firearm. If the home invasion had happened during business hours, then a Sheriff deputy probably would have been here within 10 minutes … which still isn’t good enough when an armed home invader is pointing a gun at your child in their bed.

    • Actually, invoking fear is a time-honored and highly effective advertising tactic. Identifying a fear and presenting your product as an antidote (whether subtly or unsubtly) just flat-out works. Ads that connect with visceral emotions sell things.

      They’re only against the tactic in this case because guns are Bad and Wrong, and should be objects of fear and loathing in and of themselves.

      • “Actually, invoking fear is a time-honored and highly effective advertising tactic. Identifying a fear and presenting your product as an antidote (whether subtly or unsubtly) just flat-out works.”

        Having your product visible and available for sale on store shelves does not constitute marketing, which is all that firearm manufacturers do in terms of “presenting [their] product”. The “anti-dote” qualities of firearms are self-evident and need no marketing.

  10. There is not a saturation of firearms related ads. Sorry. Most media blacks out gun ads period certainly if they are main stream.

    I will say that if one had an ad provider with the niche of gun related ads they could possibly make a fortune. I know TTAG has looked for one for a long time, but someone who could provide/sell/market for a tactically oriented crowd and related interests could make out I suspect. Guns are not a cheap hobby and the demographics who are serious about them have discretionary income.

    That said guns are symbolic of self sufficiency. Those who are not willing to be total dependents of the state will ultimately seek them out, ads or not.

      • Robert, I would say – perhaps.

        I’ve never known someone to try an interesting new restaurant with 2+ Michelin stars because of it’s advertising. The French Laundry has none. Try to get a reservation for anytime in the next 6 months.

        Sure, useless bullshit like the latest iPhone needs advo to reel in the suckers, but a quality product needs nothing but ‘word of mouth’ to achieve a $100MM+ annual sales rate. I’ve done it several times.

        (Yes, word-of-mouth is a form of “advertising”. No, it isn’t the same a paying for it.)

  11. Of course they’re coming for gun ads. The progs and their social justice warriors hate the First Amendment almost as much as they hate the Second. Gun advertisements are an unholy union of the two freedoms these people hate most.

    • I agree they’re coming for gun ads, or would like to.

      Here’s the thing, though, guns are constitutionally protected.

      Tobacco has no such protection. And I suppose it could be argued on 1st Amm. grounds as well…

      • 9th amendment.

        Remember, the constitution doesn’t really single out rights to be protected, it specifies a few in the BoR, but what it really does is single out specific powers and limits federal authority to those specified.

  12. “as advertising fuels profit growth, so too does it fuel the ability of manufacturers to finance political campaigns and gain political sway.” Absolutely correct. Case in point — prescription drug advertising and the drug industry’s grotesque bribery of politicians of both the R and D parties, while both bitterly complain about the cost of healthcare, and take it out on the average person through higher deductibles and more restrictions. But for all intents and purposes, never restrictions on the drug companies or the advertising. As for gun advertising, outside of firearms or outdoor publications, there is no gun advertising.

    • “As for gun advertising, outside of firearms or outdoor publications, there is no gun advertising.”

      It exists, just not in saturation levels, see Micheal in GA’s comment above…

  13. Consider your anti-gun man-card lost in the mail.

    Consider youself kneeling in an orange jumpsuit.

    Consider me giving 1/2 a F_ _k.

    Consider yourself losing the next Civil War against your neighbors.

    Consider a group shower before an oven dry.

    Consider History’s past periods of disarmament, and what form of POS attempted to enact and profit/gain advantage by it.

  14. If advertising was as effective as advertisers want us to believe then Hillary, having the benefit of being sold as the most wise and wonderful woman of the past 30+years, would be up 99% in the polls. Instead, she is neck and neck with a blowhard and 2/3rds of the electorate thinks (knows) she is a congenital liar.

    • Only two? Damn son, you missed out.

      I spent a year of high school in NZ and studied abroad at least a half a dozen times.

  15. “This country needs more firearms advertising, not less.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. And I think you just made a bunch of libtard heads explode! 😀 Glorious!!

  16. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a print or television advertisement for any of the firearms I own. Frankly I’d be surprised if any exist for them. As several people have stated, I don’t buy anything based upon advertisements. I don’t need to hear what the company that makes a product thinks about it, much less the opinion of someone who’s being paid to say good things about the product.

  17. Invoking fear is the keystone to just about everything the anti gun statists say, write or film (record). Fear mongering is their bread and butter. Hell yes! it works! Make a soccer Mom wet her panties (not in the good way) by convincing her any stranger walking around the local grocery store with a holstered pistol on his hip is likely to go crazy or lose his temper and shoot her darling little urchins and you’ve got an instant recruit for MDA.
    Advertising is a tiny step short of pure propaganda in every form. People are told “if you smell bad”, “if your teeth are yellow”, “if you don’t wear this designer brand”, “if you don’t drive this car”, ” if you don’t wipe your butt with this tissue”, “if you don’t clean your house with this product”, “ask your doctor about this drug”, “do this program to lose weight”, and on and on and on, or else you won’t be acceptable to everyone else. You won’t “fit in”. Most advertising is about creating subtle fears to sell products that resolve “problems” manufactured by the advertiser. No wonder so many people are neurotic, self-deprecating and depressed…oh, there’s a pantry full of drugs for that, too BTW.

    The Outdoor Channel is the only place I ever see TV ads for firearms regularly. I think History Channel runs a half-hour infomericial ad for Henry Repeating Rifles two or three times a week early in the morning. (The ad is produced and probably paid for by Henry Repeating Arms.) NRA runs NRA promo ads on Fox Cable News regularly, too.

    I would love to see Ads for firearms in the MSM, maybe an ad for Smith and Wesson firearms right after the Coca Cola ad in the Movie Theater pre-show, or an NRA sponsored PSA about Firearms Safety during Primetime…but won’t be holding my breath on any of that happening in the foreseeable future.

  18. Speaking of advertisements, I finally installed Adblock on my browser. Wow! I can actually use TTAG without closing it in frustration. Something about the new Windows 10 and my Chrome browser made many pages nearly useless.

    Just a note to page admins…when you don’t fix the issue, we fix it ourselves.

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