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Badvertising Awards

It’s a SHOT Show tradition to scour the floor looking for the most head-scratching booth displays. Maybe it’s weird lighting, bad graphic design on the signage, or…let’s say unusually-attired booth attendants. Word spreads among the press quickly.

“Have you seen the Blastomatic Booth this year? Go look,” or “Check out the AmmoCo display! You are not going to believe how those people are dressed.”

There was an entirely new winner of this contest this year, and from scuttlebutt on the floor, they had it locked down early on the morning of day one. After urging from various other media types, we headed over to the big display shared by Kalashnikov USA, CAA, and Hartman Optics to see what the fuss was about.

It took a second. The display was clean, brightly lit, well arranged, and looked more than anything else like an Apple Store with guns. Then we looked up.

All around the upper border of the booth’s walls were a series of murals depicting… A series of murals depicting… Well, maybe you can help us figure out what these murals were depicting, please?

The first was the header photo for this article. This one makes a certain amount of sense. After all, the CAA Roni is kind of science fiction looking and it could plausibly be used as a prop in a sci-fi movie about what appears to be some sort of robot police hunter-killer unit in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Wind doesn't work that way.

Wind doesn’t work that way.

This one is more baffling. Why does the cowboy have a modern shotgun? Why are his spare shells up there on the forend? Why does he have a double drop thigh rig loaded with stuff but nothing on his belt? And most importantly, why is the wind blowing his coat and the mane of his horse in different directions?

We assume that the Hartman sight is supposed to be the focus of the picture, but the rest of the mural is such a Where’s Waldo? of bizarre details that the eye keeps getting drawn away from the optic.

Lastly, we come to the culmination of the whole display, and are forced to ask ourselves important questions. Questions like, “What even is supposed to be going on here?”

Don't feel bad. We don't know what's going on here, either.

Don’t feel bad. We don’t know what’s going on here, either.

She-Ra the Barbarian Princess is wearing furs and sexy armor and has a crossbow that she’s brandishing even though it’s not cocked, and yet her crossbow has an electronic holograph sight and there’s a space gun looking Roni there too that she’s ignoring because…well, who really knows at this point?

At this point the artist could have rescued the thing by throwing in a robot velociraptor or something and going for humorous surrealism, but no. We don’t get an easy escape like that. We’re left to think that this trio of images is intended to convey positive connotations of the product to a target demographic. We just have no idea who they were targeting.


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