The student-run Never Again movement born from the Parkland, Florida, mass shootings in February, has given hope to anti-gun-violence advocates nationwide. But gun violence continues apace, such as the shootings Tuesday at the Google/YouTube campus in San Bruno, California. It's a sobering reminder that such incidents have become as inevitable as the weather—which is the idea behind this latest contribution to "The Brief," our initiative asking the creative community to apply their skills to tackling the issue.
Focusing on guns in U.S. schools, McKinney creatives David Sloan and Jordan Eakin conceived a campaign that updates the public on the daily potential for gun violence like the Weather Channel does with its forecasts. It's like a dystopian tool for planning your day accordingly—but more important, a reminder that the problem persists, even when it falls out of the news cycle.
The pitch: #ChangetheForecast
Americans check the weather every day, sometimes more. And while we know the forecast is really only a matter of probability—"chance of rain," "snow likely"—we plan our lives around it. What if we could do the same thing with another probability: the likelihood of gun violence in our schools on any given day.
How does it work?
We'll juxtapose this "School Shooting Forecast" with the daily weather forecast. We can use billboards, banner ads, weather apps, news broadcasts—anywhere people see the weather—to break through the complacent sense of normalcy and remind people that gun violence in our schools is, sadly, all too common.
Simple banners provide viewers with two forecasts: one for weather and one for school shootings. If this campaign were brought to life, it could partner with statisticians to create an actual predictive model, based on demographic data and gun laws, to create a truly local forecast for the viewer.
The banners will lead to a home page where users can share the forecast with their senators or representatives through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email or text message.
The site will use IP addresses to determine the user's location and, therefore, the senator and representative for that location. Social media messages will be pre-populated with the handles for those particular politicians.
The most obvious way to prepare for the day's forecast is to dress appropriately. We'll have a merchandise area on our site where school students, staff, and faculty can find items that will help them prepare for both the weather and school shooting forecasts. The gear could actually be bullet-proof—or just serve as another messaging platform for the risks of gun violence.
Partnerships with paid weather apps like Dark Sky will give us an opportunity to integrate the School Shooting Forecast into the app's interface, making it just another aspect of the day's weather. Or we could simply purchase paid media within an app like Weather Underground or AccuWeather.
Gun violence slips out of our minds—and the minds of our lawmakers—all too quickly. If we're going to #ChangetheForecast, people must continue to demand change daily. And for that to happen, we have to make it part of everyone's day. Just like the weather.
Got ideas? Submit them to Creativity Editor Ann-Christine Diaz at [email protected].