Fatal shootings of young black men across the U.S. remain a contentious topic even in a political climate that provides new opportunities for outrage every day.
Ad agencies and their clients have addressed the seemingly insoluble problem of gun violence in lots of different ways, but few have directly tackled the racial components of this epidemic.
Earlier this year, the New York office of international creative shop Fred & Farid teamed up with humanist organization The New York Society for Ethical Culture to celebrate Black History Month by bringing attention to the role that unconscious bias might play in fomenting such tragedies.
The two parties called on a group of artists to redesign the classic black human-silhouette shooting target, thereby illustrating the fact that black men are far more likely than their peers to be killed by “trained shooters.”
This was not a random concept dreamed up by an ad agency.
It stems from a 2015 research paper by University of Illinois graduate students Yara Mekawi and Konrad Bresin, who meta-analyzed 42 related studies to find that “the false alarm rate for shooting black targets was higher and the shooting threshold for shooting black targets was lower than for white targets.”
As they later told NPR, armed subjects considered in these studies were both more likely to pull the trigger and faster to doing so when the individual in their sights was black.
Using the tagline “More paint. Less hate,” the project included both an outdoor display of artists’ variations on the classic target and an exhibit at the Richard Taittinger Gallery in Manhattan.
Several hundred viewers have used the campaign site to create their own takes and sign a related Change.org petition calling on the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors to update its practices to reflect the findings of this study by heightening officers’ sensitivity to unconscious bias in potentially fatal scenarios.
More images below.
Client: New York Society for Ethical Culture
Agency : Fred & Farid
Chief Creative Officers: Fred & Farid
Creative Director: Laurent Leccia
Art Directors: Cypha, Pamela Jean Tinnen, Streetsmartguidenyc, AvisualBliss,
JCBKNYC, BilliKid, ConsumerArt ,YesOne, Brolga, FKDL, Iconic and 2cents, Sines,
B.D. White, Gil Goren, Gazoo, ButtSup ,Greg Frederick – VinylPopArt , Daine Carter,
Mason Eve, Damien Mitchell, Lane Scarano, ZroPro, Uta Brauser , Sacsix, Dertism ,
Felipe Echeverry ,Tats Cru, Steven Cogle, Thomas Raillard, Julien Calot, Alice
Mizrachi, Jenna Krypell, Sean Sullivan, Zimer, Bernadette Delany, Castelbajac
Creative, Fumero, Ibn Anderson, Vahram Muratyan, Augustin Zeller, Michael Hess,
Adrian Wilson, Denton Burrows
Producer: Karim Naceur, Felix Vroegop
Editor: Matthew Xu
Motion designer: Vicky Wang
Director & Photographer: Labelle
Singer: Calvin play
Digital Producer: Jim Tran, Arthur Gaudrie
Web designer: Caroline Tang
Developer: Zhiwu Wu
Agency Supervisor: François Grouiller Lisa Rosario, Augustin Zeller