Sandy Hook Promise, the non-profit that aims to prevent gun violence in schools, has returned with another powerful campaign by Alex-Henry Rubin and BBDO NY. The heart-wrenching video features survivors of school shootings somberly reciting lyrics to Katy Perry’s pop anthem Teenage Dream – a stark reminder of innocence lost and lives forever changed.
“You think I’m pretty without any makeup on, you think I’m funny when I tell the punchline wrong.” The lyrics to Perry’s song are an ode to a carefree time in many people’s lives, but as students in the US return to school after a year with the most gun violence on record, we’re sadly reminded that this is not the reality for many young adults anymore. Instead of breezy beach trips or all-consuming summer romances, the teens in the PSA highlight how their lives have been horrifically changed at the hands of school shooters.
Survivors featured in the campaign include Chase Yarborough, who was shot six times in the Santa Fe High School shooting – he currently has four bullets in his body. Hannah Dysinger was shot in the ribcage by the bullet that killed her best friend in the Marshall County High School shooting. Alex Dworet was shot in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, where his brother Nick was killed. Many of these young people carry mental and emotional wounds – beyond the physical scars – that will never truly heal.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, people are dealing with intense mental health issues, and organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise say they are ‘deeply worried’ about the ripple effects of this.
The emotive campaign drives home the critical importance of prevention. Sandy Hook Promise wants to emphasize that ‘knowing the signs’ is crucial in preventing gun violence and has dedicated a section on its website for people to educate themselves. Its mission is to ‘end school shootings and create a culture change that prevents violence’.
Sandy Hook Promise gun violence prevention campaigns have been highly acclaimed, including the Emmy Award-winning ‘Back-to-School Essentials’, the Emmy-nominated ‘Point of View’ and multiple award-winning ‘Evan’.