Technology FCB Chicago Toys

The Teddy Gun shows that toys have more regulations than guns


By Haley Velasco | Freelance journalist

May 2, 2017 | 4 min read

In a car-jacking gone bad, Chicago-native Colleen Daley lost a high school friend who was shot and killed four years after her high school graduation. From that incident, Daley understands how gun violence can affect someone’s life through her own experience.

When teddy bears have more regulations than guns do

When teddy bears have more regulations than guns

As the executive director at the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Daley has dedicated herself to making guns and gun ownership safer. Most recently, the organization is spreading their message through a digital marketing campaign called the Teddy Gun, targeting gun violence, with help from marketing agency, FCB Chicago.

“A bullet doesn’t know if you’re black or you’re white. Or you’re rich or you’re poor. If you live in a ghetto or you live in a mansion. It doesn’t know the difference. Gun violence can happen to anyone, anytime and in any place.” Daley said.

In 2015, Daley met Michael Fassnacht, CEO and president of FCB Chicago, and a partnership was started. Filled with eerie, music box-like music, they created the Teddy Gun. Looking to showcase how lax gun regulations are by comparing them to toy regulations in the US, the spot illustrates the violence from misuse of guns, specifically pointing out Chicago, a city with serious gun problems, in the spot.

Former Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski, once said, “This is the last unregulated consumer industry in the United States of America. Teddy bears are more regulated than guns.” This work shows that zero people were killed by teddy bears compared to hundreds of deaths from guns.

“You look at things like Sandy Hook, you look at Orlando, you look at movie theater shootings, Cora, you’re constantly seeing this. … That’s where I dig deep. I do this from a space of, sadly, knowing what this feels like,” Daley said.

On average, 309 people in America are shot every day, in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, and police intervention.

“We are trying to really use advertising and marketing, at its core purpose, to break through the clutter and convey a message,” Fassnacht said. “We have a very civic-minded agency population here. The young folks want to do things that make a difference.”

With the digital spot, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence looks to draw attention to their gun safety platform. The organization is advocating for universal background checks for all gun and ammunition sales, legalizing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research on gun violence, which has been banned since 1996, empowering families who are concerned with the wellbeing of their loved ones through a Lethal Gun Violence Order of Protection Act and requiring all gun dealers to obtain a state license that would make them accountable for gun and ammunition that they sell that ends up in the illegal market.

“You can take [the teddy gun] in your hand. … [For the teddy gun to work,] we have to bring the physicality of this to life,” Fassnacht said.

In April 2015, FCB Chicago and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence created a digital campaign called “The Unforgotten.” The PSA highlighted that 30,000 victims die from gun violence every year, but that each one is a person with a story and a family that they left behind. Through a traveling exhibit filled with clothes from victims, the statues represent “how quickly someone can be ripped from their life by gun violence.”

“There is a lack of awareness of the basic facts about common sense gun laws,” Fassnacht said. “[Colleen’s] frustration is that sometimes she can’t break through all of this clutter with the world of information.”

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