Covid-19 lockdowns posed all sorts of mental-health challenges for teens, but there's been one silver lining: The number of school shootings decreased for the first time in decades—indeed, March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting since 2002—simply because most kids weren't actually going to school.
A new PSA from lauded advocacy group Change The Ref uses that development to call for stricter gun control measures with a deliberately provocative rallying cry: "Bring back lockdown."
Here's the spot, released today and created by Ogilvy:
"Gun laws and regulations continue to fall short of securing the safety of our schools," says Change the Ref founder Manuel Oliver. "The 'Bring Back Lockdown' campaign is an important moment to push the gun control conversation back into the forefront and incite change. This campaign is a call to action and acknowledgment that there is a stark contrast in gun violence in schools since the onset of Covid-related lockdowns. It is my goal with this campaign to inspire Americans to push their reps to fight for stricter gun laws to be passed so that schools can be a safe place for our children."
Oliver's son Joaquin was one of the students killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February 2018. Manuel and his wife Patricia have worked tirelessly since then to advocate for stricter legislation around guns—working with many creative agencies to produce compelling work on the topic.
"More guns have been purchased since the onset of Covid than ever before, which means there are more guns in homes, and therefore a higher likelihood of gun violence in schools when kids return," says Manuel. "I hope this campaign will spark the change necessary for children to feel safe in school, and that no other parent has to endure the pain of losing their child to this unconscionable violence."
Indeed, many worry that the strain of Covid could lead to increased violence in schools once in-person classes fully resume.
"A mother can sacrifice some personal time helping with homework, lunch, or simply having a nice conversation," says Patricia Oliver. "What a mother should never do is accept a society that sacrifices the lives of more than seventeen kids per day and shows no intention of fixing America's gun violence crisis."
'Bring Back Lockdown'
Change The Ref (client)
Founder: Manuel Oliver
CCO: Danilo Boer, Marcos Kotlhar
Creative Directors: Ricardo Franco, Angelo Maia
Copywriter: Gillian Goodman
Art Director: Grace Donahue
Digital Art Director/Website: Eric Lippincott
Global Head of Production: Dave Rolfe
Director of Content Production: Eric Soloway
Producer: Gabriella Pizzitola
Music Producer: Joanna Starling
Stock Footage Buyer: Daniella Nilva
Public Relations: Stef Schmit
Account Management: Peter Kush
DP: Jon Taylor Parker
Sound mixer: Tom Salyer
Producer: Sara Beamish
Producer: Jocelyn Savoie
Producer: Jenahye Johnson
Work Editorial (edit)
Editor: Charlie Moreton
Assistant Editor: Griffin Ver Steeg
Head of Production, NY: Alejandra Alarcon
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Sonic Union (mix)
Co-founder & Audio Engineer: Steve Rosen
Blacksmith (color & finishing)
Colorist: Mikey Pehanich
Founding Partner: Charlotte Arnold
Producer: Ashley Goodwin
Beacon Street Studios (music)
Music by: Beacon Street Studios
Composers: Andrew Feltenstein & John Nau
Executive Producer: Leslie DiLullo