GS&P Campaign Tackles Unconscious Bias

Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) is lending its talents to the non-profit Courageous Conversation Global Foundation (CCGF) to help combat unconscious bias by police officers.

The “Not A Gun” campaign is inspired by true and tragic events where unarmed victims were shot by police who believed they were holding weapons.

The image referencing the Trayvon Martin case, for example, is matched with Skittles in his hands, the image for Stephon Clark is paired with a cell phone and the situation involving Eric Garner is linked with cigarettes. All ads broadly showcase the tag “Not A Gun.”

Ads for the campaign will run in selected local communities.

The launch city is Austin, TX, selected because CCGF wanted to address existing issues with race after former assistant police chief Justin Newsom was reported to have used racial slurs late last year.  Ads there will run from Feb. 24 to March 22 with placements in broadcast, outdoor, print and digital media.



To help bolster its understanding and approach, the agency and its client consulted with Khalfani Yabuku, a retired Atlanta police commander, and author of “When the Thin Blue Line Begins to Blur.”

“Unconscious bias is a growing epidemic affecting this country, and we are hopeful that campaigns like this by Courageous Conversation will inspire police and community members to become trained and educated in a way that ultimately changes the narrative, saves lives and makes everyone feel safe,” explains Rony Castor, an associate creative director at GS&P.

The partnership between CCGF and GS&P was “fairly organic,” says Castor. “We were developing the idea at the same time that we were implementing the CCGF unconscious-bias training for our employees. We approached them with the idea, and they were interested from day one.”

This initiative is just the latest example of advocacy work undertaken by the San Francisco-based agency. Most recently, the agency introduced “Lessons in Herstory,” a socially-driven national campaign to raise awareness for the fact that 89% of content in history books focuses on men. In recent years the agency has also taken on issues such as sexual assault on college campuses with the “Unacceptable Acceptance Letters” campaign and online bullying with the “I Am a Witness” campaign, which included the first emoji linked to a social cause.

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