2021 Winner

Coalition for Gun Control

Dodge the Bullet

Zulu Alpha Kilo

SilverData/Tech Strategy

The Coalition for Gun Control was founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre in 1989 to support strategies to reduce gun death, injury and crime, and to make Canada safer.

Despite the Coalition’s work, Canada has experienced a staggering rise in gun violence and shooting deaths in the last several years. The rate of gun-related crime has increased by 42% since 2013, and in the Toronto area specifically, phrases like “Year of the Gun” are used to describe a grim reality of an ever increasing number of senseless fatalities.

The never-ending headlines about yet another shooting death are horrific. Yet, at the same time, as the headlines generate concern, they also start to make these incidents feel normalized and removed from the daily reality of the majority of Torontonians.

As an advocate for gun reform, the Coalition is relentless in its efforts to battle gun violence. The goal with this campaign was to fight one of the major barriers to reform, public complacency. Gun violence is a lot closer to you than you realize. The idea was to show Torontonians that no matter where they live, they have been a short distance away from gun violence. Dodgethebullet.ca transforms public-domain data into a compelling and highly personalized user experience that vividly demonstrates just how close Torontonians are to major gun violence.

To make the issue of gun violence leap from the theoretical to the personal, they built a web and mobile app that requires viewers to take one simple action: type their home address into the search bar. That search immediately pulls the information from the Public Safety Data Portal and instantly calculates the distance to the nearest incident of gun violence. The user then sees a message that says, for example, “You dodged a bullet by 152 metres.”

The Toronto Police Public Safety Data Portal is the public record of all reported crimes in the city. All incidents are classified (homicide, break and enter, assault, etc.). The database is used almost exclusively by individuals in law enforcement, the media and public policy. The dodgethebullet.ca app accesses the information the database provides each time an individual performs a search, turning dry statistics into powerful information.

By providing people with an exact measure of how close they came to a bullet, the issue of gun violence immediately becomes personal. And if being provided with a specific number isn’t vivid enough, the site also visualizes the information with a satellite image of Toronto streets, zooming in to the exact street address the user searches.

The action at the core of dodgethebullet.ca is powerful because it’s universal: basic search. This tool provides all citizens with the ability to immediately understand how close guns are to their lives. By clicking on links to social media platforms, visitors to the site can share a satellite image of the city and its neighbourhoods, along with the prompt: Find out how close you were to a shooting.

Dodgethebullet.ca makes an issue that seems distant feel much, much closer to home. Through the digital campaign, the agency generated 23,000 signatures to a petition presented in the House of Commons in support of a ban on handguns and military-style assault weapons. The efforts helped put pressure on the passage of Bill C-71 which, among other measures, expanded background checks.

The project was covered locally by outlets like CTV News and recognized on Fast Company’s 2020 list of World Changing Ideas in advertising. There are also conversations about its potential to go far beyond the city that inspired it.

As Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control said, “There’s huge potential for Dodge the Bullet to be picked up by other communities outside of Canada as well. Many, many places around the world have the same problem we have.”

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
Art Director: Michael Romaniuk
Writer: Patrick Godin
Creative Technologist: Martin Szomolanyi
Designer: Ryan Booth
Agency Producer: Nadaa Baqui, Ola Stodulska
Account Team: Rob Feightner, Matt McGrath
Strategic Planner/Digital Strategy: Spencer MacEachern
Client: Coalition for Gun Control
Clients: Wendy Cukier, Meagan Trush
Production House: Zulubot
Web Developer: Jake Edwards
UX Design: Joe Szabo
Quality Assurance: QA Consultants
Post Production Company: Zulubot
Editor: Max Lawlor, Daniel Shapiro

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.