Doing time

Young & Rubicam attempts to reach Chicago gangsters in a new print and TV public service announcements for the U.S. Attorney’s “Project Surefire” anti-gun campaign. The ads are an effort to remind criminals that buying, selling or using guns illegally is a federal offense and could lead to a prison sentence in a cell far from home.

TV spots from the team of Corey Ciszek and Dan Sietsam play off two of what may be the biggest fears of young thugs: being far from home and having an overly amorous cellmate.

The commercials, set against the whoosh of a plains-sweeping wind, show a prison in South Dakota, for city dwellers a bleak and desolate place. One shows a week drift by as nothing changes in the stark prison yard of Yankton Federal Prison. Another shows prisoners being strip searched and brought into the prison against the deafening hoots and hollers of inmates.

“You don’t get to bring the gun with you,” says copy in that spot. “something to keep in mind when you meet your new cellmate.”

The spots are tagged, “Illegal guns just go more illegal.” Mayor Richard M. Daley’s office is making a special plea to TV stations to give them prominent play, an agency representative said.