We live in times ruled by Ad revenue and public perception. It has become a rarity to see major brands or popular public figures take unpopular political or social stances, for fear of being ridiculed (or worse) risk losing out on potential marketing dollars.
*Enter The National Basketball Association*
The NBA has thrown all caution to the wind when it comes to the issue of gun violence in the United States, and in an unprecedented move, will use one of the leagues most high profile game days (Christmas day) to educate fans on the growing problem.
The NBA has produced a number of short form commercials in which some of the leagues most prominent stars speak out against gun violence through stories of their personal childhoods or recent life experiences.
The words “gun control” are not used in the commercials but there are appearances from family members of victims of gun violence that join in the call for more attention to be paid to this nationwide epidemic. Steph Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Joakim Noah headline the list of NBA stars to appear in the 30 second spot sponsored by the “Everytown for Gun Safety” organization.
Spike Lee, who has a history of taking unpopular stances toward controversial social issues, recently took aim at the gun violence issue in his latest film titled “Chi-Raq”. Lee narrates and leads the longer form 1 on 1 version of the content and has accepted a position on Everytown’s creative council.
It will be interesting to keep track of the fallout from these commercials because gun control continues to be one of the most polarizing topics in the world today.
Regardless of the potential backlash, we commend the NBA for being bold and using their tremendous platform to at least ATTEMPT to make a change for the better in our country. We can only hope that other professional leagues, athletes and major brands take a page out of the NBA’s book on this one.