Warning: Do NOT watch this 'unboxing' video with your kids

Grey's latest PSA for States United to Prevent Gun Violence captures a parent's worst nightmare

Published On
Jan 27, 2021

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Over the years, Grey New York has created a number of novel ideas to help the national organization States United to Prevent Gun Violence deliver its message encouraging gun safety (see the “gun shop” selling the weapons used in mass killings, as well as this tool that helped individuals to divest themselves of any 401(k) investments going to gun companies). Now, however, the agency is taking a simpler approach: an unboxing video.

In a new YouTube video titled “Best Unbox Ever With Cayden,” (warning to viewers—do not watch with children) we see what appears to be a kid influencer digging into his latest package. But what he pulls out is something you’d never want to see in the hands of a child—a gun. 

He then proceeds to show viewers how to use the gun and load it—and when he gets stuck at one point, turning the barrel toward his own face, it’s a parent’s worst nightmare.

Which is the point.

“Parents who own guns need to take every precaution when it comes to gun storage,” said Clai Lasher-Sommers, executive director of SUPG in a statement. “Guns need to be locked to prevent children from accessing firearms and to drastically decrease the chances of unintentional shootings.”

Justine Armour, CCO of Grey New York, tells Ad Age that her agency wanted to tap into the unboxing phenomenon and “the intersection of culture and behavior” with this particular campaign. “Many parents believe that their children don’t know where the family guns are stored," she says. "But studies show that three in four kids know where their parents keep their guns and one in five parents don’t know their kids have handled their guns.”

The PSA, clearly, is aimed at adults, so Grey worked with YouTube to age gate the film. “We absolutely want to ensure no child models Cayden’s behavior,” Armour says. “We need to ensure children are not exposed to it without the broader context.”

Armour adds that both the boy actor in the film and his father were given gun safety education and training prior to filming, though the gun itself used on set was a prop that could not fire. 

The PSA was directed by Kevin Wilson Jr. and produced out of Chelsea Pictures in association with Big Fun Films. It arrives after gun sales have hit a record high in the States, prompting the need for more intense safety measures. According to SUPGV, in the U.S., there are currently 4.6 million children who live in homes with an unlocked gun. 
“This is not about browbeating gun owners or trying to limit gun rights,” Armour says. “The recent surge in gun sales means we need to work with that reality and do something that might actually have an effect and save kids’ lives.”

SUPGV provides gun safety guidelines and education for families on its website.