U.S. Senators Paired With Shooting Victims on Powerful Gun-Control Website

'They don't work for you'

"They Don't Work for You," a gun-control campaign from Brooklyn design shop Guts & Glory, is intended to stir the emotions of the faithful and give them simple, direct and proactive ways to respond. The website gets under your skin using deceptively simple, exceptionally skillful Web design and the frequently overlooked (yet often quite powerful) tactic of repetition.

First, we see images of the six educators killed in December's Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and the headline "These teachers sacrificed their lives for the children they worked for." That's followed by pictures of the 45 U.S. senators whose recent votes killed the proposal to extend background checks on firearm sales. "These senators voted against protecting the children they work for," the copy says. As users scroll down, successive screens show individual lawmakers alongside images of kids who died from gun violence (and who, according to Guts & Glory, might not have perished if stricter firearms laws had been in place). Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) appears first, paired with 6-year-old Newtown victim Charlotte Bacon. Text reads, "Sen. Alexander doesn't work for kids like Charlotte," and urges visitors to ask him why via phone, email and social media. This basic template is then repeated 44 times, plugging in a different legislator and slain child.

Repetition is, of course, a basic tenet of advertising, political speeches and religious sermons, because it reinforces and amplifies the message, lending extra power to an argument or proposition and firmly fixing ideas in the audience's heads. It's a proven motivator. The more times you're told "Do it," "Do it," "Do it," the more likely you are to take action, especially if you already agree with the premise. The repetition here is particularly effective. The faithful grow angrier—and presumably more primed to contact senators to make their feelings known—with each passing screen.

With folks now on edge, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre appears solo near the end, along with the message, "These senators don’t work for you. They work for the NRA, who works for the gun industry, whose sole purpose is to sell more guns." One more scroll yields a hashtag: #AskThemWhy. Of course, doing so is tantamount to asking a loaded question, but that's exactly what the site's creators have in mind—and lawmakers might want to have some compelling answers ready.

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@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: April 26, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/us-senators-paired-shooting-victims-powerful-gun-control-website-148919/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT