The latest campaign from gun-control organization Change the Ref and agency Energy BBDO was inspired by a tweet from President Biden last summer, shortly after the Uvalde shooting:
“It shook us to our core,” the agency said this week. “We were committed to raising awareness around this horrifying statistic, to shock people out of their apathy and recognize the need for action now.”
The result is “New Recruits,” a series of ads that show photos of kids as soldiers—along with the headline, “Send your children to war. It’s safer than sending them to school.”
Energy BBDO took the campaign a step further. This past Saturday, they created a faux soldier-recruitment center in Montclair, New Jersey. The office was empty, but on the streets, Change of Ref founders Manuel and Patricia Oliver—whose son Joaquin died in the Parkland shooting—handed out flyers urging people to enlist their children.
The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the gun-violence epidemic and for Change the Ref itself, and to push for a ban on weapons of war in civilian hands. The campaign also includes social, digital and radio advertising.
Change the Ref has been at the forefront of creative gun-control campaigns ever since Parkland. Its effort have included “The Lost Class” by Leo Burnett, “NRA Children's Museum” by Hungry Man, and many more. The Olivers also made headlines last month when they were ejected from a gun-violence hearing on Capitol Hill. Manuel Oliver was arrested during the incident.