Shooters Target Porter

The National Shooting Sports Foundation last week hired Porter Novelli for its estimated $3 million communications assignment.
Ackerman McQueen in Oklahoma City and Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., were finalists, said NSSF president Robert Delfay.
The Newtown, Conn.-based trade organization was founded in 1961 and has nearly 1,500 members, including gun owners, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The group has never before used an agency.
Details of the assignment are still being finalized, but the NSSF plans to work with both Porter Novelli’s New York and Washington, D.C., offices.
“They are issues-related public relations specialists,” and that background was the key reason Porter Novelli was selected, Delfay said.
Porter Novelli’s hiring signals that paid media is taking a backseat to massaging public opinion through stories in the mainstream press and helping shape legislation, Delfay said. However, “there will be some [ads]. That’s all to be determined,” he added.
The selection of Porter Novelli, owned by New York-based Omnicom Group, surprised some agency executives, who had believed the assignment consisted mainly of advertising, according to sources.
The group began looking for an agency in the spring “in an effort to correct some very obvious misconceptions on the part of the American public on the use of firearms,” said Delfay.
Delfay stressed, however, that the selection of Porter Novelli is not a response to recent gun-related tragedies such as the deadly shootings in July at the Capitol building.
Elizabeth Schmidt, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Cease Fire, a nonprofit firearms safety organization, suggested to the NSSF that it “emphasize safety and responsibility” as well as the importance of “making firearms inaccessible to children.”
Delfay said a wide variety of issues will be addressed in communications efforts from Porter Novelli.
–with Glen Fest and Aaron Baar