The Most Vicious Cycle

March For Our Lives

Issue 49 | December 2018


McCann New York

Creative Team

Global Creative Chairman Rob Reilly Chief Creative Officers Sean Bryan, Tom Murphy ECDs Susan Young, Daniela Vojta Creatives André De Castro, Nick Larson Producer Gaby Levy Creative Advisor Joyce King Thomas

Production Team

Chief Production Officer Nathy Aviram Production Mill+ Director Ben Smith Music Wool & Tusk (Rob Kaplan, Aaron Mercer) “Safe” Track written by Kesha, Sage, Chika, Pebe Sebert, Drew Pearson

Other Credits

President, McCann NY Devika Bulchandani Chief Communications Officer Jeremy Miller Senior Social Strategist Jordan Berger Clients Project Strategists and Coordinators Sarah Chadwick, Sofie Whitney Content Creator Ryan Deitsch National Outreach Director Jackie Corin Chief Strategist Matt Deitsch


October 2018


Following the killing of seventeen students and staff at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14th 2018, students from the school created the Never Again campaign and announced a march to protest against the laxity of America’s gun laws. March for Our Lives took place on March 24th and between 1.2 million and 2 million people turned out.

In November 2018, the mid-term elections offered an opportunity for people to use their votes in order to elect or re-elect those politicians to Congress, who would try to introduce stricter gun controls.

The problem was that only 28% of those under the age of 29 planned to vote.


The idea was #VoteForOurLives. March for Our Lives teamed up with pop icon Kesha, her younger brother Sage, director Ben Smith at Mill+ and McCann New York to create a music video that dramatised the cycle of gun violence and reminded young people that voting is the only way to end it.

Just like gun violence in America, the video repeats over and over again. The film features “Safe”, a song written the day after the Parkland shooting by Sage, who was a senior in high school at the time. The song is performed by Sage, Kesha and up-andcoming rapper Chika. The film includes a memorial scene, honoring actual victims of gun violence from the school shooting and the Pulse Nightclub shooting, as well as everyday gun violence in different parts of Chicago. Footage supplied by David Hogg from inside his classroom on the day of the killings was also included.

With 96 gun-related deaths every day in the USA, the intention was to remind viewers of the personal nature of the gun-violence epidemic.


40% of 18 to 29-year-olds said they were definitely going to vote. Early reports are of a surge in the student turnout of 188% against 2014 and the numbers of young people voting the highest for 24 years. Vox, the online news site, reported on November 7th that the mid-term elections may have exposed a shift on gun control.

While advocates of gun control did not get everything they wanted, they achieved significant victories in terms of increased numbers of pro-control Congressmen and women.

Our Thoughts

This is part of an integrated campaign built around the hashtag #VoteForOurLives. I don’t know if it’s what prompted influencers like Karlie Kloss (730,000 YouTube subscribers) to encourage her followers to get out and vote nor whether Kesha’s millions of Facebook friends were persuaded by her posts. But it can’t have hurt.

It took good people in ad agencies decades to expose and humble the cigarette companies; equally, we have recently seen a revision in attitudes towards gender equality and an acceptance of the LGBT community and advertising played (and is playing) a significant role in these shifts of balance. As yet in America, despite some brilliant work from many agencies, real change is yet to happen. But it will. And work like this that brings such a disparate group of talents together is helping win the skirmishes, which, ultimately, will win the war.

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