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Teddy Gun

Agency: FCB Chicago    •    Client: Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence    •    Category: Best Campaign Under $250k    •    Award: Silver Award

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on handgun violence prevention and advocates for common sense gun laws at both state and federal government levels. The majority of US citizens believe the gun industry faces high-level government oversight. However, even though guns are the most inherently dangerous consumer product, the manufacture of guns is not regulated
in any significant way. By contrast, children's teddy bears are required to meet far more health and safety standards.

Campaign Objective

Every year the public is bombarded with thousands of stories about gun violence. With so many stories, people had become numb, making it difficult for organizations like ICHV to make a significant impact. We needed a way to wake people up and pay attention. Teddy Gun was developed to start conversation and put pressure on Congress, so every execution and placement needed to do the same. We started by launching a film, and through social media and PR, it sparked conversation about gun regulation and led people to TeddyGun.com, where they could tweet directly at their representatives. Teddy Gun postcards were distributed at Teddy Gun exhibitions throughout Chicago, asking people to put pressure on Congress–by visiting our site, or mailing postcards to their representatives directly. A Teddy Gun installation, which compared teddy bear and Teddy Gun regulations visually, appeared in places near senators and representatives in Washington DC.

Target Audience
Teddy bear manufacturers are required to follow incredibly strict safety regulations–unless, of course, the teddy bear is a gun. Introducing Teddy Gun. Created to shine a light on the nonsensical lack of government oversight on the gun industry, Teddy Gun became a tragic, ironic, powerful symbol of the disproportionate lack of regulation that contributes to the senseless deaths of over 30,000 people per year. We used Teddy Gun to ignite a groundswell of outrage and political pressure for common sense gun laws.

The Execution

The media are quick to report on and sensationalize gun violence, impacting people’s understanding of the politically charged topic. People have become despondent as daily stories flood news streams and talking heads debate gun laws and regulations without merit, making it difficult for organizations like the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence to break through and have a significant impact. Particularly in Chicago, where gun violence reports lead the evening news, we needed to capture media interest in a different kind of gun story. Our multiphase approach first used the striking visual of the Teddy Gun to capture attention. Then, an event in a high-traffic area in Chicago followed, and a documentary-style video was distributed. This approach gave us multiple opportunities to tell the Teddy Gun story, engaging media, influencers and the public in ways that traditional advertising could not.

The Stats

Teddy Gun was developed to start conversation and put pressure on Congress, so every execution and placement needed to do the same. Our starting point was a teddy bear. In addition to looking like a teddy bear, Teddy Gun needed to retain the functionality of a gun. We worked with a 3D designer and a gun manufacturer to bring our vision to life. We began by seeding the campaign announcement with national media. Immediate coverage helped build awareness and credibility at launch. It sparked conversation about gun regulations and led people to TeddyGun.com. There, a state selector tool allowed you to tweet directly to your representative in your district, putting direct pressure on your exact legislators. We then brought Teddy Gun to the real world to further the conversation. A Teddy Gun installation, which compared teddy bear and Teddy Gun regulations, appeared in places near senators and representatives in Illinois and Washington DC. Chicago media came out in droves to cover the traveling exhibits. Finally, we generated national coverage and conversation by sharing a documentary-style film.

The Results

The Teddy Gun campaign did what all the headlines on the gun epidemic that came before it could not: It created a conversation, inspired people to take action and motivated real change. We effectively and efficiently took aim at gun violence with outreach that garnered 210 quality news stories. As a result, new legislation from Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) is gaining unprecedented momentum, and ICHV saw a record number of site visits, reporting more national visibility than ever before. ICHV is declaring the campaign the most successful initiative for spreading awareness and maximizing engagement in its 43-year history. As our client is a nonprofit, we delivered these high-impact results with no paid media support. To date, we secured coverage in outlets like Fast Company, Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post totaling 130 million earned media impressions, for a cost per metric/impression (CPM) rate of 56 cents, and an ad equivalency value of $2.62MM, while 97 percent of coverage featured a visual of the Teddy Gun. Due to the campaign’s success, the Teddy Gun installation’s next appearance will be in the nation’s capital, Washington DC, to continue to create a dialogue and effect change.

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