Major brands urged to take stand against gun violence

June 24 at Cannes Lions, Manuel Oliver will ask: “Are you ready to break the norm and become the next brand to create a campaign standing against gun violence?” – at a session titled Take the Risk, on the Terrace Stage at 15.30.


Florida-based Oliver and his wife Patricia are the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a 17-year-old murder victim of the 2018 Parkland school shooting in the US.

Their non-profit organisation Change the Ref has a mission to use the memory of their basketball-loving teenage son to remind the world that gun violence is annihilating far too many young lives. The goal is for a major global brand owner to use its reach to send a forceful anti-gun message that will put a stop to these killings.



“I am trying to find the next brand willing to go against gun violence, to be a brave activist, even if it comes at a financial risk. This is about saving lives,” Oliver said.

“The US is waiting for the next Nike to make a statement: my personal dream is to have a brand with such a powerful message, it will be featured at the next Super Bowl.”

Oliver has already enlisted a host of high-profile ad agencies, working with Leo Burnett to create The Lost Class, an impactful campaign illustrating how thousands of children will never graduate because bullets put an end to their short lives. In 2019 Joaquin’s parents joined forces with ad agency Alma to create a 3D-printed life-size sculpture of him, which won prizes inCannes.



“This was used to fight against the gun industry’s promotion of how easy it is to use 3D printing to make guns at home,” Oliver said. “We want to send a message against injustice.”