- Friday, Oct. 6, 2000
- 0 Comments
Kalie," the lead entry in SHOOT's "The Best Work You May Never See" gallery last week, opens on a crayoned sketch of a smiling little girl in a pink dress. "Kalie was my baby sister. She loved pink," a youngster's voice begins. The camera pans from another drawing of Kalie, this time with her dolls, and with her older sister. "We were playing with her dolls," the voice continues.
Next we see a child's drawing of an end table with a lamp on topaand a gun inside. "I found a gun in the drawer. It went off," relates the girl.
The hand-drawn pictures are now of Kalie being shot, then lying on the floor, with blood on her pink dress. "I made Kalie go away," the surviving child laments. Finally, we see a drawing of the older sisteraonly this time, her image is nearly obliterated by scrawls of black crayon. "I hate me," concludes the narrator.
A super then fills the screen, reading: "An unlocked gun can be the death of your family."
Sponsored by the Ad Council and the National Crime Prevention Council, "Kalie" is one of three Safe Storage of Hand Guns PSAs directed by Michael Schrom of New York-based Michael Schrom & Company for Foote, Cone & Belding, New York.
The FCB team consisted of executive VP/group creative director/copywriter Sandy Greenberg, executive VP/ group creative director/ art director Terri Meyer, and VP/senior producer Paddy Giordano.
In conjunction with FCB's Mind and Mood research department, the creatives visited families in such cities as Atlanta, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Portland. They talked about the nation, the issue of safety, how they protect their families. The discussion then got around to guns. "We saw that, for some, guns are a part of family life," related Meyer. "It's a legacy that's passed down from their grandfathers and fathersaan inalienable right that they feel defensive about."
"Getting to know gun owners was important so that we could figure out how to get our message through to them," Greenberg explained. "This is not an anti-gun campaign. Instead it's telling people to lock up their guns."
Grappling with how to best reach this target audience, Greenberg and Meyer remembered seeing a large collection of stories clipped from newspapers about accidental gun shootings involving youngsters. The agency creatives also met with workers at emergency room trauma centers to hear their stories. The idea of tapping into "the truth," said Greenberg, made sense. And to do justice to that "truth," the stories of children had to be reflected in spots that weren't slickly produced. "We wanted the work to come off as organic, under-produced, honestasomething that gun owners wouldn't be defensive about."
In focus groups with gun owners, the spots struck a responsive chord. Defensiveness was replaced with the attitude that, if you didn't lock up your gun, it was child abuse. When asked who was sponsoring this work, the prevalent guess was a grass-roots group analogous to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Some even conjectured that it was the National Rifle Association. Meyer described the NRA reference as "fascinating in that they felt the message was coming from more of a friend to gun owners."
For the FCB artisans, the gratification derived from working on the campaign was multifaceted. "There's the obvious joy of doing something that's good for society," related Meyer. "But it goes beyond that."
Greenberg concluded: "In the advertising business, creativity can be hurt by testing something to death. In this case, the research, the testing, the interaction with clients and people were all geared toward the betterment of the work. We used research for the right reasons: in order to help create something intelligent and enlightening."