Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Blasphemous as it may sound, I really thought I had enough guns. But, now that I've seen Henry Repeating Arms standing up on their hind legs against the forces of socialism and fascism in this country, I guess I'll have to buy just one more.

My Rifle, My Bible and Me
By Stuart Elliott

Part of a new print ad for Henry guns; a new TV commercial plays up the brand’s origins as made in the United States.A gun maker that has been drawing attention with campaigns in the mainstream media is planning new TV and print ads that are likely to gain notice — if not notoriety.

Henry Repeating Arms, based in Bayonne, N.J., is one of the few gun makers that advertises to general audiences. Its most recent campaign has been centered on the fact that its guns are made in the United States, at factories in Bayonne and Rice Lake, Wis.

A television commercial features factory scenes. A print ad, which shows a hand resting on a Bible as if in court, carries the headline “Henry rifles will only be made in America or they won’t be made at all.”

A new TV spot, to begin running on Monday, depicts a man going through his house, getting rid of anything not made in America. As he checks the labels and tags on his possessions and notices they are made in Mexico or India or China, out they go — from his TV set to his sofa to a chair in which his mother-in-law sits.

About the only thing left is the Henry rifle hanging on a plaque over the fireplace. He checks it, sees its country of origin label and puts it back in place.

The new print ad borrows the Bible from the previous one, with a twist: A man wears a holster with a gun on one side and a Bible on the other.
“There is nothing wrong with clinging to your guns and religion,” the headline reads, quoting Anthony Imperato, president at Henry, in a clear reference to a remark last year by Barack Obama before he was elected president.

Mr. Imperato, in a telephone interview on Thursday, said he planned a “test run of the ‘Bible holster’ ad” to gauge the response.

“It’s a very serious subject when you’re using the Bible in an ad,” he explained — not to mention when you’re making statements like those in the text of the ad, which include “During this past presidential election folks like us were mocked for our beliefs, but we know better.”

Henry is hedging its bets a bit in the prospective print ad. After declaring, “We believe in God, Our Country and Our Freedoms,” the ad goes on to say: “If you do too, we’d love to hear from you. If you don’t, that’s fine too — it’s another freedom we’re proud of and we apologize if this ad has offended you.”

“There is a little bit of trepidation” about the potential print ad, Mr. Imperato said, although it may have the effect of helping the company “sell a ton of Bible holsters.”

(That actually was a joke; there is only one so far, created for the print ad.)

National TV channels have accepted Henry’s commercials, Mr. Imperato said, including CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. But some local cable system operators have rejected them. In the print media, acceptance varies widely, he added.

The company spends from $1.2 million to $2 million each year on media advertising.

There are rules to such gun advertising, among them that gun makers may not offer their products for sale directly to consumers. The campaigns, current and forthcoming, offer lists of local dealers, catalogs and a toll-free telephone number.

The media agency for Henry is Everyday Media in Garrison, N.Y. The new commercial was produced by Sherpa Productions in New York, based on a concept from Mr. Imperato and Everyday Media.

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