You may remember Samantha Hilty, KLN '17, from a recent Bird Feeder event, where she kicked off the spring series with her colleagues at Grey NY - Elizabeth Gilchrist, senior vice president and global account director, and Evan T. Atherton, copy supervisor. The team spoke about a PSA they created for States United to Prevent Gun Violence, "Best Unbox Ever With Cayden," that has gone viral on YouTube and received widespread attention, including in Ad Week.
The video uses the format of the popular "unboxing" style video, popular with children and young people on YouTube. In this type of video, the subject usually films him or herself unpackaging a new purchase or gift and giving their first impressions and reactions. It calls attention to gun violence by showing a child unboxing and playing with an unlocked handgun.
The viral PSA, which has not aired on television for safety reasons as well as to maintain the integrity of the team's YouTube vision, has earned them coverage in Ad Week. It has also brought attention to the client, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, with whom account manager for this project Elizabeth Gilchrist has worked for over a decade.
"In the US, 4.6 million kids live in a home with an unlocked gun. Amid coronavirus fears and social unrest, gun sales surged to record highs in 2020—many by first-time buyers," Gilchrist said in an email. "Every day, 8 eight kids are shot by a misused or unlocked gun found in the home. And with stay-home-orders keeping more kids inside, the number of unintentional shootings by kids is rising. The need for safe gun storage has never been greater."
Gilchrist added that creating a morbid, chilling effect was what made the video so impactful. Intentionally aiming to make viewers uncomfortable, paired with the content that looked so natural in the context of YouTube, where most real unboxing videos can be found, this video made for an unshakeable message. So powerful, in fact, that the team worried that kids might accidentally see the video and mistake it for the real thing.
"We wanted it to be true to the vision of a kid holding a gun, and we also didn't want kids to see it," Hilty said. This led to the team making the video age-restricted to users 18 and older, and limiting its exposure to YouTube only.
Hilty said that working with exciting brands like this are a major part of why she loves her job as an art director at Grey. Though she pursued four different administrative and graphic design internships during her time at Klein (including one while studying abroad in London), it was her first internship following graduation at Area 23 that made Hilty realize that art direction was her true destiny. She eventually moved to Grey in order to grow in a new role, as well as for the exciting opportunities to work with brands like States United. Plus, she had all the knowledge and expertise from pursuing the Art Direction track during her time as an advertising major at Klein to back her up.
In addition to her studies and internships, Hilty was incredibly involved during her time as a student. She cited student organizations like Temple Ad Club, Diamond Edge Communications and a job at Temple's Wellness Resource Center as being central to her development as she figured out what she wanted to do and built up her professional portfolio.
"I definitely think Klein played a big part in where I am today," she said. "I absorbed a lot of information while I was there."