National Rifle Association Rearms




Charlton Heston Reprises Lead Role in ‘I’m the NRA’ Campaign
DALLAS–At the behest of incoming president Charlton Heston, the National Rifle Association is resurrecting its “I’m the NRA” image campaign of the 1980s.
Via Ackerman McQueen (AM) in Tulsa, Okla., and its public relations subsidiary, Washington, D.C.-based The Mercury Group, the NRA will begin an ad blitz next week in Time, Newsweek, People, Sports Illustrated and U.S News & World Report.
Sources said the NRA is contemplating a $5 million annual budget. No other media outlets have been targeted as of yet, according to AM.
“[Heston] did the ‘I’m the NRA’ campaign over a decade ago, and he’d like to bring that back,” said Mercury president Tony Makris, a former NRA senior vice president. The ads mark the first time the NRA has done image advertising since 1988, according to AM executive vice president Melanie Hill. NRA ad spending, which topped $6 million in 1989, had dwindled to less than $1 million in each of the past three years.
Ads will feature prominent NRA members, including Heston, fellow actor Brad Johnson and magazine publisher Bob Petersen. In the Heston ad, he spells out “why I answered the call to lead the NRA,” since the actor is expected to be elected president of the organization this week.
Wayne LaPierre Jr., executive vice president of the NRA, said the campaign was dusted off to meet the demands of members who wanted to counter negative media images.
NRA board members who dropped the campaign 10 years ago “thought it had run its course,” said LaPierre. “Looking across the country, citizens and our membership felt just the opposite. Not only had it not run its course, it needed to be brought back and stepped up.”
An official with Handgun Control, a lobbyist foe of the NRA in Washington, said the NRA is seeking to reclaim lost support of moderate gun owners. “The NRA ad campaigns should go down in the advertising industry alongside the ads in the 1950s in which doctors told you that smoking is good for you,” said communications director Naomi Paiss.