The National Rifle Association (NRA) spends $250 million annually to advocate for pro-gun legislation. How do you fight for common sense gun laws while facing such a powerful Goliath? One idea was to hold a graduation ceremony for The Lost Class, the 3,044 students who would have graduated this year if they hadn’t been killed by a gun. Two well-known gun advocates then gave the commencement address to the 3,044 empty chairs representing these lost students, ultimately turning pro-gun advocates into anti-gun spokespeople.
What did the judges have to say?
"Firstly, The Lost Class made my blood boil on the sad state of affairs and, secondly, left me scratching my head, thinking how the hell did they pull that off??" The commitment to the idea was just brilliant!"Anuraag Khandelwal, Executive Creative Director & Mumbai Head, 82.5 Communications, Ogilvy
"It handles the very poignant and ever-present problem of gun control and death through firearms in the USA. It does this in a simple and poetic way: a speaker addressing a graduating class. The class is not present, just a row of white plastic chairs, akin to tombstones in a cemetery. The number of empty seat equates with the projected number of deaths in a given academic year. All the lives and destinies lost to the gun!"Charles O. Job, Prof. Architecture & Designer, Charles O. Job. Design & Architecture
"Poignant while sending the message unabashedly."Chitra Vishwanath, Architect, Biome Environmental Solutions
"It is awful that gun control is not regulated strictly; so many young people have died and the rest have to live in fear. This was a brilliant ad."ElsaMarie d'Silva, Founder & CEO, Red Dot Foundation (Safecity)
"Look at America and the recent shootings. This piece of work is not just creative but will hopefully change behaviour and cause action."Esosa Osagiede, Creative Lead, Leo Burnett Lagos
"The idea is great: pure, simple and direct. The craft is amazing, and the way the chairs are arranged is amazing. A punch in the face!"Jean-François Sacco, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Rosa Paris
"Just wow. In your face. Tactful. Simple spatial elements, yes, but its complexity, multiple layers of interpretation, urgency of the issue, challenges posed by gun and all its vicissitudes were just overwhelmingly poignant."KazKaz Yoneda, Founding Principal, Bureau 0-1
"The Lost Class had so many things going for it – the impact of seeing futures lost, the ingenuity and irony of the casting, and the balls to make it happen, executed in the simplest powerful way."Kelly Pon, Chief Creative Officer, BBH China
"A strong creative idea, simple but very powerful. It sticks in your mind and evokes goosebumps."Kristín Eva Ólafsdóttir, Art Director & Partner, Gagarín
"The work found a way to make its point without direct confrontation with the NRA. But they obviously heard about it later. By making the statistics visual the impact became universal and profound."Matt Eastwood, Global Chief Creative Officer, McCann Health
"I think it’s so important for people to watch that film to understand that the madness to acquire power is killing humanity, killing humans."Monalisa Mukherji, Founder & Executive Producer, Little Lamb Films
"It used a simple method to make a poignant statement."Nkgabiseng Motau, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Think Creative Africa
"Shocking, smart, cut-through and daring. You cannot forget that you have seen it."Ramzi Moutran, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Do Epic Sh*t
"The Lost Class is, for me, the most iconic and relevant case in this edition. It uses the best of creativity and the best of design execution to deal with one of the worst problems we suffer: gun violence. The haunting scene of empty chairs visually quantifies with impact the problem, so people can emotionally engage and demand change. The graduation speech David Keene gives – “follow your dreams and make it to reality" – intertwined with the amount of empty chairs creates a powerful and urgent message."Renato Winnig, Global Head of Branding and Creative Direction, Natura & Co
"It's the kind of work that makes you jealous the first time you see it and, subsequently, more jealous with every viewing."Tres Colacion, Group Creative Director, Droga5
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