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Goodby Silverstein & Partners Swaps Guns for Candy Bars

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Courageous Conversation Global Foundation campaign sheds light on unconscious bias against black people and gun violence

Goodby Silverstein & Partners Swaps Guns for Candy Bars

Black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed by police and 50 percent more likely to be unarmed when killed. To raise awareness of this issue and to offer a solution, Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF), the award-winning protocol for effectively engaging, sustaining and deepening interracial dialogue, will launch the ‘Not a Gun’ campaign in Austin, Texas. 

“Unconscious bias towards black people has been problematic among police for such a long time,” said Glenn Singleton, founder of Courageous Conversation Global Foundation. “To spark change and to ensure we all get home safely, we either need the police and the community to solve it together, or we need policy change. One way or the other, something has to happen.”

Corresponding to the cases involving Trayvon Martin (Skittles), Stephon Clark (a cell phone) and Eric Garner (cigarettes), the print and outdoor ads created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) for the campaign, picture products such as candy bars and cell phones in the hands of people of colour, except with the twist that the products are labeled with the tag ‘Not a Gun.’ 

Coming out of this campaign, CCGF will partner with law-enforcement professionals to develop a training seminar called ‘Survival Options for Police and People’ geared specifically to improving relationships between police departments and communities. Visitors to the not a gun website can sign up for the training as well as sign a petition that encourages more effective unconscious-bias and de-escalation training for all police officers. 

Additionally, a film directed by Kevin Foley at Rakish will be released that illustrates a scenario in which a black man orders a candy bar, just like his white counterparts , but instead of being handed candy, he’s handed a gun. The film highlights a disturbing issue that warrants heavier coverage, illustrating the unconscious yet overwhelming bias against people of colour in situations where firearms are presumed to be present.

“The ‘Not a Gun’ campaign brings to life the issue of police officers taking black people to be holding guns when, in reality, they’re in possession of something harmless,” said Rony Castor, an associate creative director at GS&P. “Unconscious bias is a growing epidemic affecting this country, and we are hopeful that campaigns like this by Courageous Conversation will inspire police and community members to become trained and educated in a way that ultimately changes the narrative, saves lives and makes everyone feel safe.” 

In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, excessive use of force by police has become a leading cause of death for young black men in America.

“For a black man, a routine traffic stop shouldn’t make you feel all alone and make you wonder if you’ll walk away alive,” said Anthony O’Neill, an associate creative director at GS&P. “I’m hopeful this campaign can make an impact where it needs to and save lives.”

The media strategy aims to drive meaningful transformation in local communities that are rallying behind the change they want to see. The campaign will launch in Austin, Texas, to address existing issues with race after former assistant police chief Justin Newsom was reported to have used racial slurs at the end of last year. Local media will run from February 24th to March 22nd with placements in broadcast, outdoor, print and digital media. 

In addition to the ads, the effort aims to drive unconscious-bias training among police departments. Police officers spend seven times more training hours learning to shoot than learning to de-escalate despite the fact that de-escalation training, that is, using all conceivable means other than shooting, results in 25 percent fewer killings by police officers.

“There’s an inherent fear when it comes to police and people of colour,” said Glenn. “It shouldn’t exist in 2020, but it does. I hope this campaign can shed some light on the issue of unconscious bias and spark some fruitful conversation around it. Then we can begin to end the problem completely.” 

CCGF’s new course, which was codesigned with law-enforcement professionals, will invite participants to understand the world of the ‘threatening’ other. Participants will be facilitated through processes using effective racial-equity ‘protocols’ that support engaging one another in a way that results in everyone getting home safely. 

“In talking with police officers, they know there’s a problem of mishandling of force against black people,” said Glenn. “The only way to solve it is for the community and police officers to come together as one. We are hopeful that ‘Not A Gun’ will lead to productive conversations, tangible actions, and will help in ending the problem completely.”

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Client: Courageous Conversation

Founder and President: Glenn Singleton

Director of Government and NGO Partnerships: Courtlandt Butts

Executive Director, Courageous Conversation Global Foundation: Andrea Johnson

Communications Officer: Gabriel Gima

Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners


Co-Chairmen: Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein

Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson

Associate Creative Director: Anthony O’Neil, Rony Castor

Art Director: Malika Reid

Copywriter: Shareina Chandler


Design Director: Ryan Self

Designer: Tana Cieciora

Designer: Tiffany Zaporteza

Designer: Lorenz Ortiz

Account Services

President: Derek Robson

Managing Partner: Leslie Barrett

Associate Director of Account Management: Jenna Duboe

Account Manager: Emily Kelly

Account Manager: Crystal Thomas

Brand and Communication Strategy

Partner, Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan

Partner, Head of Communication Strategy: Christine Chen

Brand Strategist: Madison Cameron

Communications Strategist: Matt McNamara

Quantitative Strategist: Nancy Parrott

Broadcast Production

Director of Production: Leila Gage

Agency Producer: Molly Troy

Print Production

Co-Director of Production: Margaret Brett-Kearns

Executive Producer: Danielle Riccardi

Senior Print Producer/Art Buyer: Noah Dasho

Senior Print Producer: Joni Wittrup

Head of Photography: Quinn Gravier

Content Creative Coordinator: Hanna Hegnell

Prepress: Dmax Imaging

Retouching: Sam Nordemann

Website Production
GS&P Labs

Director of Creative Technology: Troy Lumpkin

Executive Producer: Tena Goy

Creative Technologist: August Bjornberg

Business Affairs

Director of Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra

Senior Business Affairs Manager: Anna Diokno

Broadcast Traffic Director: Ruchele Eisenman

Broadcast Production Company:

Company Name: Rakish

Director: Kevin Foley

Executive Producer: Brad Johns

Executive Producer: Preston Garrett

DP: Mike Gioulakis

Line Producer: John Malina

1st AD: Mariano Andre

Production Designer: Jace Ford

Editorial Company

Company Name: Work Editorial

Editor: Biff Butler

Audio and Sound Design Company

Company name: Lime Studios

Sound Design Company City: Lime Studios

Sound Designer: Joel Waters

Audio Engineer: Joel Waters

Assistant Mixer: Chris Nungary

Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan


Sound Design: Dary Barclay

Mix & Mastering: John Iaquinta

Original Music: Alec Harrison

Music Director: Dan McManus

VFX Company

Company name: The Mill

Executive Producer: Fawn Fletcher

Sr. Producer: Anita Emor / Katie Buckley

2D Comp Lead: Adam Lambert, Alex Candlish

2D Comp: Gavin Marler, Tim Robbins

Colorist: Matthew Osborne

Genres: Dialogue, People

Categories: Crime Prevention, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Tue, 25 Feb 2020 15:20:34 GMT