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Overcoming the Advertising Police


October 25th, 2017

For years, we have been denied the ability to advertise our gun range client (Shoot Smart) via some of the most popular media channels. We have produced non-aggressive ads that highlight fun, training, diversity and safety as cornerstones of the Shoot Smart experience.

But no matter how professional or buttoned up we make them look, there is still a dark cloud held over their heads. Google won’t let us run a single Youtube ad or Adwords despite spending thousands of dollars with them in the past. Facebook periodically accepts a boosted post, but it’s pretty rare. And most of the local TV stations won’t let us show an ad even though we’ve been the topic of many news pieces.

For most networks, SELLING GUNS is off the list, and somewhere along the way GUN RANGE and TRAINING got lumped into that. Radio, outdoor and print advertising are still available to us, and we regularly take advantage of those, but it’s not always our first choice. Frustrated with the limitations, we decided to try and beat the system. We replaced all our footage of happy people at the range with footage of puppies playing… and not to our surprise, the spot was approved in less than a day.

Why is it that we regularly see tv shows way more violent than any spot we’d ever produce on the air, but we can’t run an ad during the commercial break? Facebook and Youtube are far from family-friendly these days. Also if someone was actively searching for a new gun range to spend the day at, why is it ok for them to find us organically through google search, but not through a paid AdWords campaign?

Its the inconsistency of how it’s determined who can or can’t advertise that really drives us crazy. We’ve seen gun range competitors advertise before through normal digital channels, while we couldn’t advertise our client. It’s just a matter of time before those gun ranges get caught or someone reports it as well. We know Shoot Smart isn’t the only range with this issue, but hopefully, we can shine some light on the censorship that’s happening in the industry.

And if all else fails, use puppies.

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