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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Change The Ref and Area 23 launch new campaign titled Impossible Operation

Written by: | | Dated: Wednesday, April 17th, 2019


ER Physicians and mass shooting survivors team up to launch Impossible Operation, an unwinnable game symbolizing the devastating effects of assault rifle injuries. 


Initiative led by Change The Ref and created by Area 23, an FCB Health Network company seeks stricter gun laws


New York City, NY: The medical community sees firsthand the catastrophic damage a single bullet from an AR-15 can inflict on organs and tissue. Too often, their expert opinion is disregarded and legislative change stalls in favor of powerful lobbying groups. To draw attention to the medical side of gun violence, medical professionals against assault rifles have united with Change The Ref — founded by parents of a Parkland school shooting victim — to create Impossible Operation, an unwinnable board game modeled after real reports of mass shootings.

Dr. Joseph Sakran added “It’s called Impossible Operation because with assault rifle injuries, there are just some patients we cannot save. And this is a game we’re losing every day in trauma centers across the US”. In the disturbing and absolutely not-child-friendly game, players are asked to be the doctor, and are challenged to save a victim of a school shooting in an operation to remove game pieces of her organs that have been damaged beyond repair (eg, liquefied lungs, slaughtered stomach, blasted bowels). However, any attempt to save the victim sets off an alarm and the victim flatlines. According to Manuel Oliver, “The system has ignored our voice long enough. If we want them to pay attention, maybe we have to do something a bit ridiculous or shocking”.

The physical game, created by Area 23, an FCB Health Network company, has been sent to key members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Change The Ref asks the general public to visit, where they can tweet the game directly to their respective senators and demand a change.

Specifically, they are trying to gain support for  is bill S66—The Assault Weapons Ban of 2019—being released from committee potentially to be voted on in the Senate.

Prominent physician advocates Joseph Sakran, MD, the founder of the #ThisIsOurLane movement, and William Begg, MD, the ER physician who treated victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012, are being joined by ER doctors and trauma surgeons across the country in a show of support for this initiative.


About Change The Ref 

Change The Ref was founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver in the memory of their son Joaquin, who was one of the 17 victims lost during the shooting at MSD High School in Parkland, FL, to raise awareness about mass shootings through strategic interventions that will reduce the influence of the NRA on a federal level.


About Area 23, an FCB Health Network company

Area 23, and FCB Health Network company and AdHealth’s 2018 “#1 Agency in the World,” is a full-service agency that has dismantled barriers that stand in the way of true innovation. Its “What if” business model goes beyond agency sloganism and provides a real framework to do breakthrough creative. Just ask any one of the more than 400 entrepreneurial, passionate, curious and bold people who work there. Area 23’s campaigns are consistently recognized with top advertising industry awards and honors. In 2017, Med Ad News named Area 23 “Agency of the Year,” “Most Creative Agency” and “Most Admired Agency”—the first time that any agency was able to win the show’s top three awards at once. But Area 23 didn’t stop there- in 2018, it took home the Med Ad News trifecta yet again. Area 23 was also recognized as “Agency of the Year” in 2017 by Cannes Lions Health, Medical Marketing & Media, The Global Awards and Clio Health. After winning 19 Cannes Lions in the last two years, Area 23 is unique in being recognized outside of the healthcare space for its creative, taking home Lions from the Outdoor, Print & Publishing, Glass, Innovation, PR, Direct and Mobile categories.


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