Everytown for Gun Safety is asking people to #WearOrange for National Gun Violence Prevention Day today, one of the numerous and increasingly visible recent gun safety efforts supported by nonprofits and ad agencies.
For the #WearOrange campaign, Everytown released a video remembering 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago in 2013. The film, created by Huge's D.C. office, asks that everyone wear orange on June 2, Pendleton's birthday, because the color demands to be seen.
"Working on projects that we believe in is always front of mind for Huge. And being a part of this one was so far beyond anything any of us had ever imagined," Kate Watts, president, U.S. regions at Huge.
The campaign is seeing strong support on social media from the likes of actress Julianne Moore, the Women's March and Planned Parenthood. The NRA even weighed in with a snippy tweet that said, "Straightforward from here: Enforce existing law. Prosecute criminals. Get THEM to #wearorange for 'Gun Violence Awareness Day.'"
#WearOrange is just the latest in a string of agency attempts to speak out on gun control issues. In April, FCB New York worked with University of Texas student organization Cocks Not Glocks to fight campus carry legislation. The agency worked with the organization to create real bulletproof college apparel designed to protect students from firearms in their school. The stunt was captured in a satirical video named "Student Body Armor."
"Getting more people to understand and learn about the epidemic of gun violence in America is always moving the needle and it's always positive," said Andrew Patrick, media director at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The campaigns and videos around gun violence prevention help get people talking about the issue, he said, which usually gets more people voting to strengthen gun laws.
Ninety-two people die from gun violence every day in America, bringing the annual total to more than 36,000.
"When people click on a hashtag, like #WearOrange, and begin to learn more about the issue, it brings people in," he said. "I don't think it's a distraction; I think it adds."
Also in April, BBDO New York was named the 2017 "Agency of the Year" by the Webby Awards, for its chilling film "Evan" for Sandy Hook Promise, which picked up four awards. The film begins by posing as a sweet high school love story, but its unexpected twist ultimately highlights how signs of potential violence can easily be missed when it ends with a school shooting.
The gun safety push isn't new this year. The North American Grand Effie for 2016 went to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Grey Canada for "Groceries Not Guns," a campaign that pressured Kroger Co. and other retailers to ban open carry of guns in their stores.
In 2015, Grey's worked with nonprofit States United to Prevent Gun Violence on a daring stunt, where it set up a "gun store" in Manhattan aimed at first-time weapon buyers. Those who came in were treated to the shocking history of the store's wares, including a gun that a two-year-old shot and killed his Mom with at a Walmart.
Ad Age itself took a stance on gun control all the way back in 1968 in an editorial titled "GUNS MUST GO!" The piece was published four days after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.