Evolve Playthings – If they Find It They’ll Play With It

Evolve, the national organization focused on making gun safety and responsibility the social norm, follows up its 2014 viral film success ‘Playthings’ with a print series that further illustrates the importance of keeping guns locked up when ever-so-curious children are at home. Four charmingly provocative ads feature kids playing with all manner of taboo household items – condoms, mom’s lacey lingerie, maxi pads, sex toys and tampons – with the simple reminder: ‘If they find it, they’ll play with it.’ That’s an embarrassing prospect if kids find a lacey bra, but it’s a terrifying one if they find an unlocked gun. The new initiative also includes out of home, digital and social elements.

Evolve Claws Balloons

It’s the same insightful, non-political message that helped ‘Playthings’ become the most viewed gun safety PSA in history, reaching more than 7MM people. The 30-second spot, also created by McCann Erickson, features a highly recognizable setting: two young boys on a play date, engaged in a sword fight, helmets and all. But as the mothers exchange pleasantries, they soon realize the swords aren’t really swords; they’re vibrators the kids found in the house, and the speechless women are left watching the scene unfold in cringe-worthy silence.

Evolve Claws Tampons
Evolve Claws Fort
Evolve Claws Tampons

While the awkward humor has people taking notice of the campaign, it’s the good-sense approach to gun safety that’s really fueling the conversation, according to Evolve’s co-founder Rebecca Bond.

“Owning a firearm, and living with them in our communities, comes with the heavy responsibility of safety,” Bond says. “Let’s face it, kids find everything. Some things are simply embarrassing. Some things are potentially lethal and there is absolutely no do-over. Hoping that kids exercise good judgment – or are even capable of doing so – is not a bulletproof plan for any parent.

She added, ‘We have to keep finding more ways for everyone to take on these conversations; ensuring that no other lives are tragically impacted by lax and avoidable safety behaviors. Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

Said Sean Bryan, McCann NY co-Chief Creative Officer: “PSA’s around gun safety are, as a rule, scary and serious. So we decided to use comedy instead. And that relatable humor has really helped Evolve’s common sense message break through.”

Evolve Playthings Credits

The Evolve Playthings campaign was developed at McCann New York by global creative chairman Rob Reilly, chief creative officers Sean Bryan and Tom Murphy, associate creative director/art director Ferdinand Daniele and associate creative director/copywriter Thomas Weingard, group creative directors Zach Holliday and Josh Greenspan, chief production officer Nathy Aviram, senior art producer Wendy Leahy, account executive Rachel Heiss, agency producer (Playthings) Bridget Pierce, music producer Michael Ladman, print project manager Sharon MacKenzie, senior print producer April Gallo, with photographers The Selby and Kevin Zacher, working with Evolve co-founders Rebecca and Jon Bond.

Filming of Playthings was shot by director David Kerr via Private School Entertainment with director of photography Julian Whatley. Editor was Michael Dart Wadsworth at Final Cut.