DALLAS – Amid the clamor raised by fatal shootings at schools in Arkansas and Oregon, the National Rifle Association is resurrecting its “I’m the NRA” image campaign of the 1980s.
At the behest of Charlton Heston, who will become NRA president on June 6, Ackerman McQueen’s Tulsa office will begin an ad blitz for the NRA next week in Time, Newsweek, People, Sports Illustrated and U.S. News & World Report. Sources said the NRA has a $5 million ad budget.
When asked about the timing of the campaign in relation to the recent tragedies, NRA director of public affairs Bill Powers said, “I don’t think there’s any relation between the two.”
The campaign is, however, intended to counter the negative media images associated with NRA members, said Wayne LaPierre Jr., executive vice president of the organization. The ads will feature members such as Heston, actor Brad Johnson and publisher Bob Petersen. Heston’s ad spells out “why I answered the call to lead the NRA.” Heston could not be reached for comment. These are the first image ads for the NRA since 1988.
A representative of pressure group Handgun Control said the NRA is seeking to reclaim moderate gun owners’ support. The campaign “should go down alongside the ads in the 1950s in which doctors told you that smoking is good for you,” she said.