Thursday, July 8, 2010
Let’s talk gun ads on TV. When’s the last time you saw one?
The cigarette issue reminded me of growing up with another controversy and the issue of guns. You see plenty of local gun shops or hunting & fishing stores advertise, but not firearms manufacturers themselves, and definitely not on network TV. They’re not prohibited from doing so from what Google tells me. House council for the blog AdLawGuy says he’s aware of no laws against them either. Gun ads run in print still with no problem. (Here’s a nice batch from a time way back when Jimmie’s first gun wasn’t taken to school to cross off a few people off a list.)
Even though major auction sites like Amazon, Yahoo and eBay ban them (as well as many classified ad sections), private auction sites and gun shows sell them. Not that I’m hoping to see Gloch ads start popping up, but it just struck me that it’s one of the very few word of mouth products that hasn’t needed TV ads to sell itself.
Not that it matters. You have how many TV shows that help the industry indirectly anyway as Jack Bauer points his HK close enough to a terrorist’s face to read the name. Of course, fear is also a wonderful sales motivator with the endless stories of home invasions and store robberies on the 11:00 news. In times like these the increase in sales backs that up. (Also helping the cause, striking down gun bans and allowing them in Starbucks.)
From the little research I did though, the networks only have a policy in place regarding what they will and won’t accept in terms of advertisers. But policy isn’t law. Policy didn’t kill tobacco ads on TV decades ago, laws did. While Fox allegedly showed a gun ad last year, how long before manufacturers sue for the right to run ads on all the networks by turning this into a first amendment issue?
(Ironic wrinkle: Networks have had no problem taking money from an alcohol industry that broke its voluntary ad ban back in the mid-90s. Guess drunk driving deaths don’t count as much as homicide by gun violence to networks.)
So Ad Land, since somebody will eventually cross that line, would guns be something you’d work on or not?*
*C’mon, if you can write “robust and hearty” about a beer, you can summon up the courage to throw out “stopping power” easily enough.
Posted 3:20 PM