BBDO New York

Sandy Hook Promise
"Back to School Essentials"

Client: Sandy Hook Promise
Product: Sandy Hook Promise
Title: Back to School Essentials
Media: Online video
Country: USA
Date Of Campaign: 9/17/2019

Background: In America, almost 15,000 children are killed or injured in gun-related incidents every year. People seem to have accepted this “new normal”, and focus on teaching kids how to survive school shootings, rather than preventing them.

Idea: Since forming in 2012, Sandy Hook Promise has dedicated itself to preventing school shootings by teaching kids and parents to spot the telltale signs of a potential shooter. The group released their new “Back to School Essentials” PSA in September of 2019 as kids across America were preparing to return to school after the summer holidays. At first, it appears to be just another typical Back-to-School ad. A boy in at his school locker talks about his perfect new backpack. A girl in a classroom mentions her colorful new binders. But things soon take a darker turn when it becomes clear that a shooter is active in the school, and the pupils start have to start using their new school items to save their lives. A jacket is used to tie a door and create a barricade. A skateboard is used to smash a window to create an escape route. A sock becomes a tourniquet. And girl uses her new phone to text her mom a final message. The commercial closes by pointing out that it’s possible to prevent school shootings by learning to spot the signs of a potential shooter.

Results: The PSA became a trending topic on Twitter and got 26 million views in the first 24 hours. The story generated 5 billion media impressions and was picked up every major news outlet including Fox News, CCN, BBC and The New York Times. It was also tweeted about by celebrities like Kim Kardashian, and became part of the US election conversation with 11 of the 2020 presidential candidates sharing it on Twitter.

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