It's winning by pulling this viral stunt: An emotional ad for the obscure guns-and-gun-accessories-business, complete with a graphic of an AR-15 assault rifle at the end—the firm's supposed specialty. Guns & Ammo sternly alleges that this ad was created to air during the Super Bowl, at exorbitant Super Bowl advertising rates, until the NFL "banned" it because they hate guns, and also free speech, or something. So now, Daniel Defense must sadly content itself by seeing the ad distributed online. For free.
"[G]etting ads 'banned' is a badge of honor," notes Yahoo's Jay Busbee; "the message gets out at a fraction of the cost of actual airtime. GoDaddy built an entire industry on this practice with its allegedly-too-hot-for-the-NFL campaigns."
Still, I'm not not going to share this. Not merely for hits, but for a cause: the cause of education.
Here's how this is going to go down: Most of you will be outraged or disgusted by this ad. By its overt luddism and sexism and libertarian man-musk. By its pandering to veterans and daddies (and speaking as a member of both groups, this thing is a mishmash of too-stupid-to-be-manipulative piffle). By its assumption that there is One Way To Protect An American Family, and that is with a slapped-together simulacrum of a 5.56-mm NATO military assault rifle. (More on that insipid latter assertion below.)
In your outrage, you will do as I do and share the ad, or your perception of the ad, and there will be the Moral Panic. And the gun-nut crowd will envelop itself in a hunting-camouflage Snuggie of smugness, confident in its status as a bonafide American Subculture, swimming upstream against the socialist multiculti sheeple-loving current. And Daniel Defense will become a status object, a talisman signifying membership in this mysterious order of liberty-loving, edgy iconoclasts. It will become the safety-pin through the nose of the gun punk. Waffle shirts and pickup cabs will bear the company slogan as a testimonial, shouting at you through your windshield: "LIGHTER, STRONGER, BETTER...®"
Don't you want to be LIGHTER, STRONGER, BETTER...®, bro? What's wrong with you?
That is how a kinda-savvy gun company commodifies the dissent of unsavvy gun nuts. Never mind that anyone who thinks an AR-15 or its shorter cousin, the M-4, is a valuable home-defense weapon is a shit-for-brains lemming. The gun's high-velocity, low-caliber, low-weight slugs won't stop shit up close, as those guys in Somalia and Iraq and Afghanistan have learned pretty succinctly. If you really want a home defense weapon, if you really want to open your family up to the high statistical probability that one of them will be killed or maimed at your well-intentioned hands, get a shotgun, or a large-caliber pistol, and get some training.
But I know, I know. The AR-15 and M-4 are the "it" guns now. So, fine. If you want to take down hajjis at distances greater than 50 yards, or you want to lay down suppressive fire for your squadmates' flanking maneuvers, or you want to massacre kindergartners, or you want to start the race war, or you want to shoot the shit out of peaceable moviegoers while blocking the exits, then yeah, at $1999.99, the nasty black assault rifle is your piece. Cock and lock! You're a real man now. Quick, go watch some football!