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Ad of the Day: March For Our Lives and McCann New York’s harrowing school shooting PSA


By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

May 27, 2022 | 4 min read

Last month, the youth-led protest organization March For Our Lives released a straight-talking PSA titled 'Thoughts and Prayers' that took aim at politicians for not doing enough to combat the gun violence epidemic in the US and instead offering their futile condolences. Sadly, the organization and its agency McCann New York didn’t know that in the coming weeks the country would be facing yet another devastating mass school shooting, this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.


March For Our Lives PSA by McCann New York / March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives was born in 2018 as a demonstration in support of gun control legislation and was a response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Since then, the organization has garnered support from around the world in its lobbying of Congress to close loopholes and pass common-sense legislation that will save lives

In its latest PSA, viewers see rows of black body bags lying on the grass at the National Mall in Washington D.C that represent lives lost to gun violence. As the camera pans out it becomes apparent that they are lined up to spell out the words ‘thoughts and prayers’ – a phrase that is often used as a response to tragic events in lieu of tangible actions to combat the issue.


Clips of protests, harrowing pleas from young people and emotive images are scattered throughout the film with one woman noting: “We keep seeing so many young people asking, begging politicians to just give a f**ck – to just care, to just talk about it a little bit.”

The moving video was directed by JJ Augustavo of Missing Pieces and developed by McCann, who has been working with the organization since 2018.

After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a producer at McCann New York who was a graduate from the school reached out to the Parkland community to see how the agency could help. They asked for help disrupting the typical gun-control conversation. To signify the idea that the lives of students must not matter all that much to politicians, McCann divided NRA donations by the number of Florida students. The result was $1.05, which was the price, per life, of a student and was symbolized with an orange tag.

Two years ago, the agency collaborated with March For Our Lives on a project that aimed to show the country that educating children on what to do if their school comes under fire is far from normal. In ‘Generation Lockdown’ an 11-year-old girl is brought in to teach a group of adults about the steps they should take to protect themselves in the event of a shooting. It's not exaggerated or dramatized; the young girl knows the drill well because it’s something they have to speak about regularly in the classroom.

In the aftermath of the tragic events in Texas, the organization is asking people to ‘March For Our Lives, Again’ and demand change to gun laws in the US. You can join the movement or start your own march here.

March For Our Lives: Thoughts and Prayers by McCann NY

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