If you’ve never played a brain attention game, this is how they work: you watch an interesting story (note, or magic act) and then you’re asked a question about other things that happened during the scene. You’re gobsmacked – and humbled, usually – to find out the obvious occurrences you missed.
BBDO New York has used the same technique to educate people about the signs of gun violence for the Sandy Hook Promise group, a gun violence prevention organisation set up by family members of those whose loved ones were killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.
It’s a PSA you won’t overlook. The other quirky fact about human brains is that experiencing something packs a bigger punch than receiving information about it.
The one and a half minute film tells a love story about a teenager called Evan, who “falls in love” with someone with whom he has been exchanging message etched into a desk in the library. He wonders, but can’t find out who she is.
And then he does. But just at that moment…
The story takes a gruesome turn. While you’re attention was riveted to the love story you completely missed the other story occurring at the same time. until you’re shown extracts of Evan’s story again.
The message is that the warning signs of impending gun violence are there. You just don’t see or recognise them.
“When you don’t know what to look for, or can’t recognise what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences,” noted Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, in a statement. Hockley lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook massacre.
“It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence—these acts are preventable when you know the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives.”
According to Sandy Hook Promise 80% of school shooters and 70% of people who suicide told someone of their plans before taking action.
Too few people recognise the clues.
Agency: BBDO New York
Chief creative officer: David Lubars
Chief creative officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Creative Director: Peter Alsante
Copywriter: Bryan Stokely
Art director: Martins Zelcs
Group executive producer: Julian Katz:
Account director: Lindsey Cash
Production company: Smuggler
Director: Henry-Alex Rubin
Executive Producer: Drew Santarsiero
Producer: Leah Allina
DOP: Ken Seng
Post Production: NO6
Editing: Jason MacDonald & Nick Schneider