Energy BBDO Creates Powerful New Work For Change The Ref

Energy BBDO Creates Powerful New Work For Change The Ref

Gun Control non-profit Change the Ref has a new campaign explaining that it is safer to send children to war than to school in America.

Created by Energy BBDO, the campaign features out-of-home billboards with children dressed in military fatigues and copy reading “Send your children to war.”

The campaign hinges on a powerful statistic: since 1963 nearly 193,000 children and teenagers have been killed with guns on American soil — more than four times the number of US soldiers killed in the Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars combined.

Change the Ref also created a fake recruitment centre in New Jersey over the weekend with the group’s leaders, Manuel and Patricia Oliver, handing out mock recruitment flyers to passers-by. The couple lost their son in the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida.

“Since that event, we have created social content highlighting Manuel and Patricia’s interactions with people during the activation, and we plan to roll out additional assets in the coming weeks,” said Gary du Toit, BBDO New York creative director.

“We are also working with media partners to secure donated media placements to raise awareness around the Change the Ref organization as a whole and the call to ban assault weapons.”

Change the Ref’s previous campaigns, created by the likes of Leo Burnett, have won numerous awards. The 2021 “The Lost Class” campaign won numerous Grand Clio awards.

Campaign Credits

Change the Ref:

Founder: Patricia Oliver
Founder: Manuel Oliver
Social Media Lead: Anna Johnson


N.A. CCO: Luiz Sanches
CCO: Josh Gross
Creative Director: Gary du Toit
Creative Director: Lance Vining
Copywriter: Gary du Toit / Charles Foley
Art Director: Lance Vining / Charles Foley Retouching: Charles Foley
Head of Production: Alex Gianni
Experiential Production Lead: Hayley Baldwin Director: Flynn Drew
Studio Lead: Mitch Monzon
Executive Producer: Jeff Davis
Producer: Serena Lignel
Business Lead: Peter Loftus
Music Lead: Daniel Kuypers
PR Leads: Olivia Dames and Laurie Parrish
Sr. Business Affairs Manager: Kathleen Bannon Audio Engineer: Ben Treimer
Music: Human Music & Sound Design

Photographer: David Prior
Edit & Post: Be Grizzlee

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