Did you know that the United States are the ‘proud’ host of the most devastating mass shootings of our time? The worst thing about this horrible ‘record’ is that many of these shootings happen in schools, with innocent children becoming the first victims. Arguably, such acts of violence occur because it is easier to buy a gun rather than a toy in the US. So, where is the justice? Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) wants to shed some light on the matter and, together with BBDO New York, the NGO launched a PSA that brings out “Back-to-School Essentials” which help students battle anxiety and fear in the wake of another school shooting.

Since the tragic events at Sandy Hook School almost seven years ago, reactive measures to gun violence have increased. Sadly, most American students still live with fear inside their hearts, wondering when, not if, a shooting will unfold at their school campus. The worst thing is that these shootings have become the “new normal” across not only schools but the whole country. Despite the odds, SHP believes that if you focus on the signs, some of these tragedies can be prevented.

To raise awareness about the sad and haunting reality of what happens when children go back to school in America, SHP and the New-York-based agency launched a video that first focuses on a group of classmates returning from their summer holidays. Slowly, the students present their favorite everyday objects that help them survive a shooting, shedding light on the tragic reality that students have to face every year.

“Back-to-School Essentials” counts as SHP’s biggest campaign to date, as it is being launched with a 360 integrated campaign inclusive of print, digital, radio, and out of home placements. Moreover, SHP has managed to start people talking about the issue through their other campaigns too, such as “Evan,” “Point of View,” and “Know the Signs.” These programs were implemented to make adults and students alike recognize all the warning signs that foretell a massive shooting.

“So far this year there have been over 22 school shootings, and with students heading back to school, it seems sadly probable that we will see more incidents. This is unacceptable, given that we have proven tools to prevent these acts from occurring. We cannot accept school shootings as the new normal in our country. Our goal with this PSA is to wake up parents to the horrible reality that our children endure. Gone are the days of viewing back-to-school as just a carefree time, when school violence has become so prevalent. However, if we come together to know the signs, this doesn’t have to be the case. I hope that parents across the country will join me to make the promise to stop this epidemic,” explains Nicole Hockley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise and the mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting.

Sandy Hook Promise’s lifesaving Know the Signs programs have helped train more than 7.5 million people nationwide. Through these programs, SHP wants to bring awareness of the horrific ‘new normal,’ while asking people to be more attentive to the signs that, let’s face it, are kind of obvious.


Client: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP)

Agency: BBDO New York