Anti-Gun Ads Use Real Mass Shootings and Bloody Visuals in Attempt to Sway Voters

Faulting politicians, and those who elected them

These ads for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence must rank among the most unnervingly visual—and potentially polarizing—this category has ever produced. And that's really saying something.

A somber soundtrack and director Mark Pellington's moody color palette build an atmosphere of extreme foreboding in these videos created by by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and production house Wondros. In one spot, a middle-aged man reads newspaper coverage of the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre. Another shows young people learning of the Virginia Tech killings via their mobile phones.

In each ad, a voiceover begins, "You did not buy the guns. You did not load the bullets. You did not empty the chamber. But you voted. You voted for politicians that refused to support common-sense gun laws. Vote only for candidates who would fight to reduce gun violence."

What do we see on screen during this narration? Let's just call it a blunt visual metaphor that's sure to rankle the coalition's opposition and generate lots of attention for the cause.

Ultimately, I'm not sure this approach succeeds, despite the fierce sincerity of its message. The intended audience could feel unfairly guilt-tripped, and many viewers, regardless of their position on guns, might find the imagery heavy-handed.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: October 29, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT