An anti-gun group is advertising “student body armor” in states that allow people to carry firearms on college campuses.
The satirical commercial shows students cheerfully modeling hoodies and other apparel emblazoned with the University of Texas logo — except each item has bulky, bulletproof body armor built in.
“Don’t get caught in the crossfire, get Student Body Armor,” a narrator says. “A proprietary blend of type-II body armor and school pride.”
The price of the gear runs from $700 for a T-shirt to $29,999 for a fully protective body suit. However, the gear isn’t actually for sale — the commercial is a protest against guns in schools.
“We wanted to take a stance that’s lighthearted and apply it to a topic that’s generally really dark and stressful in America,” Jessica Jin, the founder of the group behind the ad campaign, told Business Insider.
Ten states have on the books some form of “campus carry” law that allows people to possess firearms on public campuses.
But those laws are often the result of lawmakers succumbing to pressure from gun groups like the National Rifle Association, Jin said, adding that students and members of school leadership are rarely consulted. The Student Body Armor concept was a chance to invite young people into the conversation, she said.
“It’s an alternative narrative to the NRA’s messaging for the last 40 years, that guns equals safety. A lot of millennials don’t feel the same way,” she told Business Insider.
Jin’s group, Cocks Not Glocks, is no stranger to controversial campaigns. Last year, the group organized a rally at the University of Texas in which hundreds of students brandished sex toys — illegal to carry in public, under a Texas obscenity statute — to protest against handguns, which were legalized on campuses in August.
“We’re fighting absurdity with absurdity,” Jin said.
The group enlisted ad agency FCB New York to design the bulletproof apparel and shoot the commercial.
The agency had real students try on the gear at one point in the 90-second spot, which led to some angry feedback from those unaware the product was satirical, FCB’s chief creative officer Ari Halper said.
“They were disgusted we would profit off the fact that guns are allowed in these universities,” he told Business Insider.
However, by the end of the commercial, the narrator makes clear: Student Body Armor is a joke, even if campus carry laws are not.
“Price too steep? Not to worry. Protect yourself for free,” the narrator says. “Just call your local representative and tell them campus carry is almost as ridiculous as Student Body Armor.”