Ex-JWT Exec Takes On Gun Violence

With gun violence at the top of the news these days, an ex-ad agency executive is providing a way for the media business to fight back.

Ex-J. Walter Thompson partner Dan Gross has taken a “non-political gun safety” organization called PAX into the media arena with a new slate of broadcast and print ads. The commercials are shot documentary style, and focus on school violence. One features a student named John Harris, who knew of a friend’s intent to “pull a Columbine” but didn’t know who to report the information to. Three days later, three of his classmates were dead. The ads give kids a phone number to call with potential tips on violent acts (1-866-SPEAK-UP).

“I’m in a unique position to help here,” Gross said. “I want people to understand this is not about gun control it’s about stopping gun violence. We’re trying to appeal with kids through insight. They understand artificial messages better than adults.”

Gross’ unique position comes from not only being an ad exec, but from being directly affected by gun violence. He was on the observation deck of the Empire State building in 1999 when a gunman opened fire, killing his brother and several other people. He never went back to work at JWT. His focus went to PAX.

So far ABC, CBS, NBC, MTV and Lifetime have picked up broadcast ads. Print ads will appear inn Teen People. Interested agencies or content owners should call Gross at 212-983-8705.

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