While teddy bears are certainly having a moment in advertising these days, as seen in ads for Samsung, Migros and Heathrow Airport, this one eliminates every bit of "cute" from the cuddly toy in order to make a startling point about gun violence in the U.S.
For nonprofit Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, FCB Chicago and Director Ben Flaherty created this stark but powerful spot that presents a weapon unlike no other. The film lingers on the darkened silhouette of a teddy bear, with a music box tune playing in the background. All the while, a voiceover discusses the numerous regulations teddy bear manufacturers have to follow to get their products into the market -- that is, unless their product is a teddy-bear shaped gun.
It's then that the film reveals the bizarre weapon -- with the ears and head of a bear, but a barrel where the face should be.
The point is to highlight the gross discrepancy between regulations gun manufacturers face compared to those applied to an innocuous toy. The film leads viewers to Teddygun.com, which lays out, side by side in further relief, restrictions on the toys vs. the weapons. Visitors are also given various links and information through which they can apply pressure to their government representatives to call for stricter gun controls.
"The Teddy Gun is a profound yet tragically ironic symbol of the absence of government regulations of one of the most dangerous consumer products," said Colleen Daley, executive director, ICHV in a statement. "Our goal with Teddy Gun is to raise awareness and encourage elected officials to support measures that can and will save lives."
The campaign will later debut a longer-length documentary film about the making of the gun. The gun itself will also be part of a traveling exhibit. FCB Chicago teamed with gun specialists Hero Solutions Chicago to fabricate the device. According to an FCB representative, it could be a functioning gun, but the agency inentionally left "active" parts of the weapon out for safety's sake.
Chicago has become a mainstay in the headlines for the gun violence that has stricken the city, which saw 4,368 shooting victims in 2016 alone. In 2017, that count is already approaching 700.