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Communicator of the Week: The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

15th March 2018


I love a good old-fashioned, image focussed, PR stunt on a gigantic scale. Attempts at viral videos, GIFs, Infographics and the whole panoply of content deployed today by communications agencies and campaigns are fine. But they simply do not grab me by the balls, shock me, move me, and motivate me like a beautifully constructed photo-based PR stunt. 

We are all supposed to be persuaded by facts (as well as emotions and credibility). The problem with facts and data is that they are frequently not relevant to us as individuals or do not connect with our everyday lives. 

One way to get around this is to give an example of what that fact means or what it equates to. The problem with this is it is too easy to fall into cliché mode.  How many times has something been compared to “the size of Wembley stadium” or “a London bus”? 

What then when you are talking about something as important as the deaths of children? What if you want to grab people’s attention by using something so everyday and mundane that it connects to pretty much everyone? 

That was the approach taken this week by The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) in America as they campaign for tougher gun controls after the latest school massacre of 17 children at Parkland, Florida a month ago. 

For anything to happen it will require a mass-movement to counter the lobbying operation and deep pockets of gun-rights advocates. Any mass-movement needs people to be motivated, and I can’t think of a better executed picture than the 7,000 pairs of children's shoes the CSGV lined up outside the US Capitol building. Each pair of shoes represented one child killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook massacre of 2012. 

7,000 children in six years. That’s the fact. The pure statistic. It’ll grab some people but not as well as the brilliant photo stunt that The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence devised to make this relevant to everyone and is why they are my Communicator of the Week. 

Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite



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