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Social Media Campaign to Rewrite Gun Culture Expands to Reach Teens Nationally

After Seeing Project Unloaded’s SNUG Campaign in Its Pilot Phase, 15% of Teens Shifted Their Views Against the Ideas that Guns Made them Safer

The $500,000 Campaign Reaches Young People on TikTok with the Message that They’re Safer Not Using Guns

CHICAGOProject Unloaded, an organization working to stop gun violence by changing the cultural narrative about gun violence and safety, today announced the expansion of its TikTok-driven campaign, Safer Not Using Guns (SNUG). The SNUG campaign uses influencer voices and approachable, fact-based content to reach young people on TikTok with the message that guns make us less safe – not safer, as many believe.

“The most common reason that someone gets a gun is for safety, but the facts are clear that we’re all Safer Not Using Guns,” said Nina Vinik, founder and executive director of Project Unloaded. “Through Project Unloaded’s SNUG campaign, we’re reaching young people on the platforms where they spend their time with that straightforward message and asking them to decide against using guns on their own terms. With Gen Z leading the way, our deadly gun culture can change.”

SNUG features collaborations with social media influencers who have significant Gen Z audiences including Heather Mari, Tay Marquise and Avi Angel. SNUG ads share messages from those influencers, as well as fact-based messages about the risks of carrying guns and having guns at home. The $500,000 campaign reaches teens on TikTok in twelve cities this fall and winter: Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Seattle, and Tampa.

“If fewer people lived with and carried guns, fewer people would be devastated by the effects of gun violence,” said Isaac Law, a 19-year-old member of Project Unloaded’s Youth Council in Houston, Texas. “Gen Z has the power to change gun culture simply by deciding against using guns. The SNUG campaign helps young people make that choice by bringing us the facts on gun risks – without the politics or intensity that can make some people tune out.”

In its pilot phase, 15% of teens who saw the SNUG campaign shifted their views against the myth that guns made them safer. The campaign follows the model of other effective culture change public health campaigns, such as Truth Initiative’s work to stop teen cigarette smoking.

When Truth Initiative began to bring teens the facts on cigarette smoking, more than 20% of teens smoked cigarettes. Today, less than 3% of teens smoke cigarettes and lung cancer rates have dropped about 20 points. Project Unloaded works to create a similar shift in gun use and gun deaths.

To learn more about Project Unloaded, please visit www.projectunloaded.org.


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