A common criticism of gun-safety and gun-control campaigns is that they preach to the choir—that they don’t even attempt to be persuasive to gun owners themselves. A new campaign from Wunderman Thompson literally aims to change that—by featuring gun owners using their firearms to call for limited gun reform.
The effort, called “Aim for Change,” was created for the bipartisan group 97Percent Advocacy. Its centerpiece is a video in which gun owners fire at shooting-range targets that have four proposed gun-safety laws written on them—closing the violent misdemeanor loophole, implementing state and federal background checks, passing state gun permits, and enacting red flag laws with due process protections.
97Percent’s research suggests most gun owners support such laws, and that they could reduce gun-related homicides by 28% and gun-related suicides by 6%.
The shooting-range targets double as a petition calling for change. There is a version on the campaign website where anyone can shoot virtual bullets at the same posters (or even print them out and presumably fire at them for real).
The concept here isn’t conceptually seamless—you normally shoot at something to kill it, not to give it life—but the campaign is still an admirable attempt at seeking the kind of bipartisan agreement that could lead to real change. The idea was chosen by Wunderman Thompson North America from more than 100 floated by employees who wanted to do something different than the usual anti-gun messaging after the May 2022 tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.
“Gun violence isn’t slowing down in the United States. And we need to find common ground to make progress, which is why we partnered with 97Percent. They are all about approaching this issue differently, engaging gun owners, and finding pragmatic solutions,” said Tom Murphy, chief creative officer at Wunderman Thompson. “The more we talked about this project, we realized how many ‘people like us’ are gun owners. 97Percent really opened our eyes to the majority of gun owners who could make a difference in our laws and needed a voice.”
“‘Aim for Change’ gives gun owners a tangible way to voice support,” said 97Percent co-founder Adam Miller. “Our research clearly shows the majority of gun owners support key gun safety reforms, but they feel left out of the conversation. And most gun owners greatly underestimate support among their peers—which likely inhibits gun owners from speaking up. ‘Aim for Change’ is a way to unite gun owners, as well as demonstrate to non-gun owners, the media and legislators that this issue is not nearly as divisive as it is made out to be.”