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By The Drum | Editorial

December 8, 2023 | 2 min read

Creative campaigning group Change The Ref launched Ballots Against Bullets to draw political attention towards tightening gun control in the US. The hard-hitting campaign made a big impact and also scooped the Grand Prix and Creativity awards at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose. Here is the award-winning case study.

In 2020, Change the Ref launched Ballots Against Bullets, a campaign exposing politicians who failed to reduce gun violence. The campaign superimposed voter ballots over crime scene images from mass shootings, with bullet holes checking the boxes for politicians in office when the shooting took place, and who failed to prevent the crime through gun reform.

Following the first edition’s success, the bar for creativity and impact was already high, so it was important this work pushed the conversation forward. The creative approach had to look new and shock voters with the same message.

To do that, our effort took a personal approach, enlisting real survivors of gun violence to make the case for gun control. The images superimposed voter ballots over the survivors’ bullet scars, using their wounds to “check” the box for politicians opposing gun reform.

The goal was to continue driving awareness around why gun policies matter during voting, while highlighting politicians who have historically failed to support measures reducing gun violence in the U.S. Our target audience was U.S. voters, especially in states where notorious pro-gun politicians would run including Florida, Texas, and Georgia.

Running the day before the election, the campaign was showcased on 40 billboards, posters, and projections strategically placed near voting sites in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. The prints showcased in each state corresponded to the real state ballots.

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