Ad of the Day: Gun Violence PSA Makes Heartbreaking Statues From Victims’ Clothes

FCB's 'Unforgotten'

Eight victims of gun violence are memorialized in lifelike but faceless plaster statues in FCB Chicago's "The Unforgotten," a traveling public-service installation and media campaign.

Created for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, the campaign takes pains to imbue each statue with as much of each victim's personality as possible. (For example, family films and photographs were studied to determine the subjects' characteristic gestures and body language.) The figures, created by FCB art director Jordan Sparrow, are dressed in the victims' actual clothing. They wear sweatshirts, jeans, scarves and sneakers. Some carry backpacks. One figure slings a guitar because it was modeled on a young musician who was fatally shot while helping his band unload their gear. The statues' name tags work with a mobile app, allowing users to access videos about the victims' lives.

"This cause desperately needed an unusual approach," says FCB Chicago creative chief Todd Tilford, "something shocking to compel people to take action, while at the same time honoring the victims, and the families and friends of the victims. Not in a loud, screaming way, but in a powerful, silent way."

The initial exhibit was held April 10 at Chicago's St. James Cathedral Plaza, and Tilford says plans are underway for the installation to visit other cities in Illinois and possibly around the country.

The three-minute campaign video features interviews with family members and shows the statues posed in parks, on sidewalks and in bus shelters. The clip closes by asking viewers to "Help us get guns out of the wrong hands. Unforget the victims and sign our petition at The-Unforgotten.org." The campaign hashtag is #Unforgotten.

Mannequins have been effectively deployed in recent PSAs about the homeless and people with disabilities. The figures created for "The Unforgotten," while similar to mannequins, achieve a haunting, visceral presence owing to their level of personalization. The absent faces remind us that human beings lost their lives—clothing and artifacts are all that remain.

Tilford believes these surreal specters transcend blood-soaked category clichés, and refutes the idea that the approach might be a tad too abstract or esoteric.

"While the memorial statues were artistically designed, they went far beyond being 'artsy,' " he says. "How do we inspire real change? What if we could bring some of the victims back to tell their stories? That's what we did. We did something different."

CREDITS

Client: Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

Agency: FCB Chicago

Chief Creative Officer: Todd Tilford

Group Creative Director: Chuck Rudnick

Art Director: Jordan Sparrow

Executive Creative Producer: John Bleeden

Creative Producer: Rachel Chapman

Film Director: Ben Flaherty

Account Supervisor: Ky Anderson

Group Management Director: Karyn Kerner

Senior Strategic Planner: Hayet Rida

Director Experience Planning: Katie Swindler

PR Agency: Current – Lifestyle Marketing and Public Relations

President: Virginia Devlin

Vice President: Alexis Valenti

Production Company: Lord + Thomas

Executive Producer: Katie Roach

Executive Producer: Jared Stachowitz

Senior Editor: Steve Immer

Copywriter: Anthony Williams

Group Creative Director: Derek Sherman

John Skibicki: Lead Developer

Experiential Agency: FCBX

Management Director: Marty Kane