Gun-related violence is not an obvious topic to wax witty about, but Young & Rubicam/Chicago nonetheless has tried to do so in a new pro-bono ad campaign for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. No one is going to argue that gun violence isn't a problem in Chicago. It certainly is. And a big one for which no one seems to have a viable solution. But in the absence of one, ICHV and Y&R are trying to remind the public that something has to be done -- and soon.
Y&R's effort to draw attention to the problem involves kids fashion and bullet-proof vests. In a series of bus shelter executions we see adorable children dressed in the latest spring fashion -- which in each instance also includes a vest to protect against gunshots.
In one ad, we see two young girls and the headline "Alive on Arrival," along with ad copy that states in part: "Whether it's just a bit chilly or raining bullets, this cozy vest is sure to protect your child from all the elements." Another ad features a young boy and the headline "Live Boy Walking," together with ad copy that says in part: "Turn the local park back into a playground. This vest fits snug, while leaving arms and hands free to raise in the air for that 'don't shoot I'm innocent' stance."
There is more copy in both ads that points out that more than 150 kids have been shot this year in Chicago -- more than 25 of them shot dead. The statistics are grim indeed, which is why it may be hard for some who see these ads to smile at the thought of combining bullet-proof vests with the latest fashion sense. In other words, tone and message in the ads don't quite mesh. But at least the problem is getting some attention. The ads will go up on 50 bus shelters throughout the city.