The Best Work You May Never See: Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Director Kevin Foley Team On "Not a Gun" Spot For Courageous Conversation


Robert Goldrich
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020


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In this spot for Courageous Conversation Global Foundation directed by Kevin Foley of production house Rakish, a black man buys a candy bar at a convenience store, just like his white counterparts--but instead of being handed candy, he’s handed a gun. The scenario depicts what Courageous Conversation has identified as an unconscious yet overwhelming bias against people of color in situations where firearms are presumed to be present. The man goes outside to be stopped by police with a candy bar in his possession.

The film is part of an overall campaign conceived by Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Corresponding to the cases involving the deaths of Trayvon Martin (Skittles), Stephon Clark (a cell phone) and Eric Garner (cigarettes), the accompanying print and outdoor ads for the campaign picture products such as candy bars and cell phones in the hands of people of color, except with the twist that the products are labeled with the tag “Not a Gun.” 

Coming out of this campaign, Courageous Conversation will partner with law-enforcement professionals to develop a training seminar called “Survival Options for Police and People” geared specifically to improving relationships between police departments and communities. Visitors to can sign up for the training as well as sign a petition that encourages more effective unconscious-bias and de-escalation training for all police officers. 

The media strategy aims to drive meaningful transformation in local communities that are rallying behind the change they want to see. The campaign will launch in Austin, Texas, to address existing issues with race after former assistant police chief Justin Newsom was reported to have used racial slurs at the end of last year. Local media has begun and will run to March 22 with placements in broadcast, outdoor, print and digital media. 

“The ‘Not a Gun’ campaign brings to life the issue of police officers taking black people to be holding guns when, in reality, they’re in possession of something harmless,” said Rony Castor, an associate creative director at GS&P. “Unconscious bias is a growing epidemic affecting this country, and we are hopeful that campaigns like this by Courageous Conversation will inspire police and community members to become trained and educated in a way that ultimately changes the narrative, saves lives and makes everyone feel safe.” 

“For a black man, a routine traffic stop shouldn’t make you feel all alone and make you wonder if you’ll walk away alive,” said Anthony O’Neill, an associate creative director at GS&P. “I’m hopeful this campaign can make an impact where it needs to and save lives.”


Client Courageous Conversation Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein, co-chairmen; Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer; Anthony O’Neil, Rony Castor, associate creative directors; Malika Reid, art director; Shareina Chandler, copywriter; Ryan Self, design director; Tana Cieciora, Tiffany Zaporteza, Lorenz Ortiz, designers; Bonnie Wan, partner, head of brand strategy; Leila Gage, director of production; Molly Troy, producer. Production Rakish, Los Angeles Kevin Foley, director; Brad Johns, Preston Garrett, exec producers; Mike Gioulakis, DP; John Malina, producer; Mariano Andre, 1st AD; Jace Ford, production designer. Editorial Work Editorial Biff Butler, editor. Audio Lime Studios Joel Waters, sound designer/engineer; Chris Nungary, assistant mixer; Susie Boyajan, exec producer. Music/Sound Alec Harrison, original music; Dan McManus, music director; Dary Barclay, sound design; John Iaquinta, mix & mastering. VFX The Mill Fawn Fletcher, exec producer; Anita Emor, Katie Buckley, sr. producers; Adam Labert, Alex Candlish, 2D comp lead; Gavin Marler, Tim Robbins, 2D comp; Matthew Osborne, colorist.

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