McCann Explores Awkward ‘Conversations’ for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

By Erik Oster 

McCann New York teamed up with production company Private School Entertainment to create a gun safety PSA for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence entitled “Conversations.”

The 30-second spot, directed by David Kerr, was first introduced in Pittsburgh as part of a pilot project but is just now being aired nationally. It examines the kinds of awkward conversations parents have with other parents. “My son…playing…you know…” one mother awkwardly fumbles to another at the opening of the spot. Rather than finish the sentence, the ad skips to the same women engaging in other unfinished awkward conversations such as “The boys got into some of Frank’s old…magazines.” At the end of the spot a voiceover delivers the message, “Awkward conversations come with being a parent, but one might save your child’s life. Ask if there’s an unlocked gun in the house before sending your child over to play.”


The ad functions as a sort of follow up to another gun safety PSA from McCann: the sex-toy battle of “Playthings.” Not only is the style of awkward humor reminiscent of that spot, the actresses used (Iris Almario and Anna Vocino) are also the same. Interestingly, that ad was initially created for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and filmed at the same time as “Conversations,” but the group turned it down, fearing it was too provocative. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, told The New York Times that the Brady Center then offered it up to another gun-safety organization, Evolve. Evolve had great success with the video, which eventually racked up over 6 million views on YouTube. 

“Conversations” certainly takes a less provocative approach, and Gross hopes the message can resonate with gun owners as well as gun safety advocates. In focus groups, the Brady Center found that mothers in homes with guns were also supportive of parents questioning whether a gun was present in the house. “They don’t mind being asked the question, and they’re kind of proud to talk about how their gun is stored safely,” Gross told The New York Times.