Brandishing Weapons: Glock and Rivals’ Social Marketing Is A Tone Deaf Failure


New reports have surfaced that Arizona shooter Jared Loughner showed off his Glock in a series of posed photos. From the New York Times report: “[Police have] photos of Jared L. Loughner posing with a Glock 9mm pistol… In some of the photos he is holding the gun near his crotch, and in others, presumably shot in a mirror, he is holding the gun next to his buttocks.”

Sound odd? It shouldn’t. It sounds like a lot of snap-happy owners that Glock and other gun brands count on for marketing.[more]

That Loughner would strike a pose with his Glock for the camera is hardly indicative of any abnormality. Not even his inclusion of skin is all that unusual. One need not be mentally unstable to strike poses with one’s Glock.

In fact, Glock (and its competitors) count on this exact kind of user-generated, photographic, voluntary brand championship as part of its grassroots, word of mouth marketing mix. Brands have long known that social networking platforms are a perfect place for “viva voce” and brand engagement, and it’s no different for firearm makers.

In light of the discovery of Loughner’s Glock shots, we stopped by Glock’s official Facebook page and collected a random sampling from the photo gallery.

By no means is Glock the only brand that encourages this. Below are shots from similar galleries at the official Facebook pages of Springfield Armory,  Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson (latter two below).

But there is a stronger motivator for firearm brands to better police their social media presences with regard to recent events.

The below photos are currently featured on Glock’s Facebook page. Those are Glocks with the sort of high-capacity magazines that enabled Loughner to shoot so many so fast. Even though reports have these magazines currently selling out across America (in anticipation of  a ban), Glock’s brand only stands to be embarrassed by the association and, in the wake of the shooting with legislators itching to blame gunmakers, its failure to edit its page is, at best, irresponsible to the brand and tone deaf to its struggles to reinforce itself as a responsible manufacturer of a product that shouldn’t be begrudged a few bad eggs. Looking at Glock’s offical Facebook page photos leaves one believing there are a lot of bad eggs… and that Glock is fine with that.

But again, Glock is not the only firearm brand that apparently fails to police its official galleries. Two years ago, a New York couple found themselves in trouble with authorities after photos they emailed around of their young children posing with guns were sent to police. The parents later faced child endangerment and weapons charges.

Jump forward to today where we found the photo below in the gallery of the official Sig Sauer brand Facebook page: