Doctors use Canadian icons as target practice in PSA

An advocacy group of frontline medical staff aims to show that a ban on semi-automatic weapons isn't just an American issue.


Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) has federal parties in its sights as it launches a Canadiana-fueled PSA warning that we are not immune from U.S.-style gun violence.

The organization, a group of frontline healthcare professionals, has a call to action to address what it calls a “public health crisis,” using touchstones of Canadian culture (like maple leafs and maple syrup) being riddled with bullets.

In a statement, group spokesperson Dr. Najma Ahmed, a trauma/critical care surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said that firearm related injuries and deaths are a preventable public health issue that needs to be addressed, and it starts by banning all civilian owned semi-automatic weapons.

gun-violenceDeveloped pro-bono by Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle, the “Canadians Are Not Bulletproof” campaign uses posters, print, OOH, television, online video, radio, email, digital banners and social creative that will be running nationally but focused on the Greater Toronto Area, which had 428 shootings in 2018 and 358 so far in 2019. All creative drives to the site, where people can sign up for email updates and send a message to local candidates from every party currently running for MP in the federal election.

Kevin Brady, president and CEO of Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle, says he is a concerned father of three in Toronto. He says the shop had an opportunity to try and do something about the increasing gun violence in the city, and that the partnership with Dr. Ahmed (who treated victims of the Danforth shooting) and her group was the right one.

“Canadians, to a certain degree, think the problem is not really here,” he says. “It’s either gangs, or in the States.” That’s why the creative is not just meant to be attention-catching through the imagery and statistics, but uses symbols most Canadians will recognize to drive home that gun violence has become an issue here.

Brady says the health- and pharma-focused agency tries to do one PSA per year, and has done work advocating against Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, as well as for Ad Standards, both projects the team at Anderson DDB was passionate about. This latest effort, he says, is more about getting MPs to stand up and take notice as the federal election looms

In order to make the “Canadians Are Not Bulletproof” campaign, Anderson DDB partnered with Apollo Studios and ARTiculation Group, as well as PHD Toronto, City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission. Campaign creative will appear across the Greater Toronto Area and online across the country through January 2020.