Cannes Lions

Point of View

BBDO NEW YORK / SANDY HOOK PROMISE / 2019

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Last year, opinions on gun violence were louder than ever. But the same debates between the pro-gun and anti-gun groups raged on without any solution. Sandy Hook Promise’s objective is to educate people on the warning signs of a potential shooter. But to get their message out there, they needed to break through the noise of the gun debate. They needed to offer a new perspective that everyone could get behind – regardless of their political stance on guns.

Idea

In 2018, the gun violence debate had reached gridlock. So we offered up a different point of view that hadn’t been considered. We used a shooter’s POV to demonstrate how easily a shooter can go unnoticed if you don’t know the warning signs. The film tricks the viewer into believing they are following a normal day at school, but the ending reveals they’ve been watching the POV of the shooter throughout the film. The PSA was full of warning signs as seen from the shooter’s eyes – like isolation, bullying and a fascination with guns. Only by noticing the signs would you ever notice the shooter.

Strategy

The objective of the film was to break the stalemate in the gun debate and get both sides of the political spectrum talking about the warning signs. To reach the target demographic of US students, parents and educators, Sandy Hook Promise leveraged their existing PR relationships with news outlets, celebrities and influencers to create a PR rollout leading up to the Sixth Anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. The film was seeded out by relevant influencers from politicians to actors, from newscasters to bands, without giving away the shocking twist at the end. Some of the biggest news channels agreed to air the film on prime-time programs. The PR-ability of the spot was baked into the idea – the shooter’s perspective was provocative yet had a powerful message that ordinary people and news outlets couldn’t ignore.

Execution

The film was debuted on Good Morning America and amplified with influencers such as Joe Hanson of PBS Digital and The Young Turks. Celebrities and public figures such as Pearl Jam, Debrah Messing, Kathy Bates and Monica Lewinsky volunteered to help amplify our film on Twitter as well. The film was also picked up by newscasters on programs including the Today Show, Eyewitness News, MSNBC, and many other news outlets. The film was continually amplified, voluntarily by influencers and publishers, for 10 days from launch. (December 10–20, 2018). Our film reached over 438,000,000 people and was shared over 19,000 times.

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