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Why is this work relevant for PR?

The Harmless Guns campaign allowed the general public to discover, without any media investment, the concrete commitment of Dagoma in its fight against 3D-printed weapons and making it a veritable advantage in the extremely competitive 3D printer market.

France 2, ComputerWorld, Loopsider, RMC, BFM and more… dozens of French and international media helped spread the word about the 3D printer manufacturer’s fight.


3D printers are a veritable revolution. They make it possible to print anything at home: from decorative objects to figurines and even prosthetic limbs. To do it, all it takes is to download the blueprints for any of the millions of items available online.

Unfortunately, among these objects there are blueprints for real firearms. Accessible without restriction and in just a few clicks, anyone who owns a 3D printer can, in a few hours, manufacture their own functional weapons at home that are untraceable and undetectable.

The European countries have extremely stringent laws related to firearms. But those printed in 3D escape every form of control.

To date, no law or initiative has attempted to halt their spread.

Dagoma, a European leader in 3D printing, decided to stop this plague by launching operation Harmless Guns.

Describe the creative idea

To fight 3D-printed weapons, Dagoma attacked the root of the problem, their blueprints.

Through a participative platform, real weapon blueprints were collected with the help of web users. Then they were modified so none of the parts fit together, making the printed weapons completely harmless.

To ensure the blueprints are credible in the eyes of web users wishing to obtain a gun, all modifications are imperceptible to the naked eye: weight, appearance, name, composition. Then these blueprints were spread in the same places where the originals were found: forums, chats, 3D model platforms. All this with a single goal, to make real blueprints extremely hard to find, to discourage people who want a gun.

With the files collected to create HarmlessGuns, we developed software that detects and prevents printing of 3D weapons on Dagoma printers. It’s open source, so every manufacturer can prevent printing of weapons on their printers.

Describe the PR strategy

Dagoma is the European leader in 3D printing. But the sector is increasingly competitive. To set itself apart, Dagoma decided to confront a subject that no 3D printer manufacturer had ever dared to tackle: 3D-printed weapons.

The goal being to generate brand preference from the general public and fans of 3D printing around a responsible and engaged vision of 3D printing.

To achieve this, an original PR kit was created containing harmless guns printed in 3D so that journalists could check for themselves that the gun parts did not fit together.

To reach our different targets, we sent this PR kit to the French mainstream media in TV, press and radio. We also targeted specialist media in new technologies and those focused on communication and marketing.

Describe the PR execution

To make the media aware of this fight, we prepared brand content on the operation from December 2018 telling the story of how gun files were collected, modified and spread.

In the first week of January, we aroused the curiosity of journalists by sending them PR kits containing actual size harmless printed guns. On 8 January, we sent them the brand content video to reveal the operation in detail.

On 9 January 2019, our campaign immediately went viral and was covered by dozens of media outlets from all over the world. The media coverage allowed us to highlight the software that blocks printing of weapons and the fact that we made it available to competitors.

List the results

The campaign had no media investment.

In less than 10 days starting from 9 January 2019, thanks to the positive media fallout, the operation was picked up and communicated in France and internationally:

- 10 TV stations, notably France 2, BFM Business, CNN, and RMC

- Dozens of articles: La Tribune, 20 Minutes, Yahoo News, France Bleu and more.

Specialist media from around the world covered Dagoma’s fight: 3Dimensions, Journal du Geek, 3Dnatives, ComputerWorld, Imprimalia3D, and more

Also the communication trade press: Shots, Campaign, Adage, LaRéclame, Influencia and more.

In total, the campaign generated over 128 million impressions in more than 25 countries (including USA, France, Australia, England, Korea and Turkey).

Visits to the Dagoma website increased 43%.

Dagoma sales increased 31% during the whole campaign.

And this operation allowed the general public and the media to see Dagoma as the first and only company to actively engage against 3D-printed weapons.

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