Spoof firearm reviews push gun safety laws in America

Woman holding handgun

The campaign by Energy BBDO and Guns Down America flips popular firearm YouTube reviews on their heads by inviting real gun violence survivors to share their stories.

More than 16 million U.S. adults bought a firearm in 2020, an increase of more than 20% year over year from 13.8 million in 2019. 

Nonprofit organization Guns Down America enlisted Energy BBDO to create a visceral and thought-provoking national campaign that makes people think twice about such a purchase. 

The campaign, called "Gun Survivor Reviews," puts a twist on gun reviews that people post to YouTube, explaining the utilities and benefits of firearms. These videos, however, feature real gun violence survivors who have battled through abuse, escalated arguments or attempted murder. 

The videos start out similar to typical gun reviews but end with the narrator’s personal story about how the firearm was used to shoot them. 

"We read an article in the Chicago Tribune about a 15-year-old boy shot three times," Ze Baldwin, BBDO associate creative director, told Campaign US. "He was describing all the gun's features — impact, strength, accuracy — from his point of view, and reminded us of a gun review. So, we flipped it."

While the two gun violence survivors featured in the videos — Nicole and Kate — were excited about the project, it took "courage to expose themselves and relive such a difficult time,” Baldwin said.

"From the beginning, Nicole and Kate found the idea very impactful," he added. "They were bold and brave to relive their stories and acted professionally from the first take, putting max effort to make it real."

The campaign is running on digital and social platforms, where it is being promoted by key influencers who have voiced their support for pro-gun safety laws, said Ioana Filip, executive creative director at BBDO. 

To date, the campaign has organically reached more than 100,000 views across channels. 

The outreach is only as strong as the survivor stories, which continue to be added to the campaign as they come in. 

"We will add content as the campaign unfolds at GunSurvivorReviews.com," Filip said. "More survivors have bravely reached out and want to voice their own stories and create reviews."  

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