Monday, July 3, 2017

Target Audience

Last week, I posted about the latest NRA ad, which has been construed as inciting violence against liberals. In the past couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that, counterintuitively, the ad is meant to scare liberals into buying guns.

While the NRA has been spouting right-wing talking points for as long as I can remember, the organization is primarily a lobbyist group for the arms industry. The raison d'être of the NRA is to sell guns. The main technique employed by the NRA is to stoke fear (PDF), largely racialized fear. For the past eight years, the gun lobby has convinced its original right-wing target audience that the United States' first African-American president would confiscate guns, all to drive up sales. Anticipation of a Clinton presidency fueled a gun-buying frenzy last year. With a right-wing president occupying the White House, and the right-wing gun purchaser having a glut of firearms, gun sales, and firearms manufacturer stocks, have plummeted. Gun manufacturers have to expand the market for firearms if they want to stop this downward spiral.

This current ad, suggesting that conservatives arm themselves and fight back against violent 'leftists', protesters-at-large, and people who criticize the president, has been scaring the bejeebers out of liberals, some of whom now feel the need to arm themselves for protection against a reactionary backlash. A subset of people concerned with Trump's violent rhetoric and jingoistic policies, have gone and purchased shooting irons. This has been a market largely untapped by the rightist NRA, but I think that, in a bit of marketing 'jujitsu', they have made an extreme right-wing ad that is actually targeting a left-of-center audience.


Harry Hamid said...

I remember a story from back in 2001 about how donations to Greenpeace and Amnesty INternaitonal had fallen during the Clinton years because (despite cogent arguments to the contrary) the average person thought those interests were being tended to by the people in power.

Presumably, as you say, the NRA wants to make sure that its donations stay high during the Trump years.

So, despite the fact that the states and Supreme Court have continued to water down existing gun laws, the NRA has to continue to try and find places where guns aren't allowed or aren't found.


Ali Redford said...

I agree with your theory, BBBB. My first thought after watching that a few days ago was, "I still refuse." I felt that the ad is directed to people who feel like I do.