A Texas-based shooting firm has come up with a clever way to promote their business despite Google and YouTube’s advertising restrictions. Shoot Smart, which has three locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, turned to safe and family-friendly puppies to get the word out.
Many online and social media outlets are making it hard for people in the gun industry to share their presence on the internet. Shoot Smart is just one of countless companies whose ads are flagged for violence, regardless of their content or message.
“Facebook prohibits our ads,” said Shoot Smart, in a public statement. “We can’t even promote the fact that we’re open on Labor Day. Google won’t let us run a single YouTube ad or advertise on AdWords despite the fact that we have a YouTube channel and we’ve spent thousands of dollars with them in the past six months.
“Most local TV stations won’t let us show an ad even though we’ve been the topic of many TV news pieces,” the statement continued.
Many advertisers will not promote gun sales directly. But Shoot Smart is trying to bring people in for gun safety training classes.
“We support the nationwide Project ChildSafe program and have tried to advertise our safety seminars,” said Shoot Smart. “Why is it that we regularly see incredible gun violence on TV shows, but we can’t run an ad for gun safety or training during the commercial break? If someone is actively searching for a gun range, why is it OK for them to find us through Google search, but not through a paid Google ad?”
Living up to their name the minds at Shoot Smart found a way around these restrictions.
“Frustrated with advertising limitations, we replaced the ad footage of people at the range with footage of puppies playing, and surprise, the TV spot was approved in less than a day.”
See Also: Google Bans Shopping for Guns
The content is cute for sure, but it also highlights an increasingly relevant issue for the gun industry. While companies like Google and Facebook often portray themselves as gateways of information, when it comes to guns, they are the gatekeepers.
Increasingly called the “Frightful Five,” Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet (which is Google’s and YouTube’s parent company) exert a large amount of control over the content people have access to and can share.
Content that was once permitted is now being de-monetized or even removed from websites like Facebook and YouTube. This means that the primary means to earn money online are getting shut down almost completely.
Time will tell how else these massive corporations will deal with the gun industry and vice-versa. For now, it’s clear that puppies are the next hot seller.