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Adweek | January 27, 2021

Gun Safety "Unboxing" PSA from New York

Grey New York highlights that 4.6 million U.S. kids live in homes with unsecured firearms

Unboxing videos are generally upbeat and charming clips in which children (or young-at-heart adults) open up a new product and explore all its packaging and features.

But agency Grey New York takes the format a much darker place with a PSA called “Best Unbox Ever With Cayden,” in which a fictional 8-year-old unboxes his parents’ unsecured handgun. Cayden shows off every angle of the gun, placing his fingertip over the muzzle and even toying with the trigger. We quickly realize the gun is—as one should assume all guns are—loaded.

The PSA, from States United to Prevent Gun Violence, aims to highlight a statistic that 4.6 million children live in homes with unlocked guns. The organization calls on firearm owners to take responsible steps to keep guns away from children, while also teaching kids what to do if they ever come across a gun.

“Parents who own guns need to take every precaution when it comes to gun storage,” says Clai Lasher-Sommers, executive director of States United To Prevent Gun Violence. “Three in four first- and second graders know where their parents keep their gun, and one in three admit to handling the weapons. Guns need to be locked to prevent children from accessing firearms and to drastically decrease the chances of unintentional shootings.”

Specifically, the organization wants parents to keep guns locked (via trigger lock, barrel cable or both), unloaded and kept in a safe or similar secured storage. The group also advises keeping ammunition stored separately from the associated guns.

The spot was directed by Kevin Wilson Jr., who wrote, produced and directed the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated short film My Nephew Emmett in 2017.

“As a parent and storyteller, I’m in a very unique position to approach my stories from the point of view of a guardian who cares deeply about protecting the innocence of children,” Wilson said. “No child should have to lose their life or deal with the guilt of having accidentally taken a life because of the unsafe storing practices of adults.”

States United also advises parents to have a talk with their children about what to do if they find a gun: stop, don’t touch, run away and tell a grownup.

Grey New York and States United are longtime partners in the effort to reduce gun violence. Their “Guns With History” campaign in 2015 opened what appeared to be a real gun store in Manhattan—but was actually a collection of firearms similar to those used in fatal tragedies. The campaign won Gold at the Cannes Lions and a litany of other industry honors.

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