Daniel Defense's ad rejection affects more than just company - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Commercial production crew also feels hit of Daniel Defense ad rejection

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SAVANNAH, GA / WILMINGTON, NC (WTOC/WECT) - Marty Daniel took a break from making guns to make a point to the NFL, which has refused his company's attempt to buy commercial time during the Super Bowl.

"The first thing I thought was, come on man, really?,'' said Daniel, quoting a popular comment made frequently on ESPN pregame NFL shows. "So we've been sort of playing with that, come on man, play our ad and that's been a lot of fun.''

The CEO and owner of Daniel Defense is taking anything but a light approach to what, so far, has been a one-sided discussion.

While Daniel Defense is attempting to explain the content, intent and reasoning behind its ad, the NFL has simply said no.

"Our goal was to reach out to those Super Bowl fans who might not know who we are and make Daniel Defense fans of them,'' said Daniel. " Maybe they've made a decision, maybe they're not going to reverse the  ruling on the field, but at the end of the day, we want to do business with the NFL. That's the point here. And we want to start a conversation about the Second Amendment.''

Crew behind the camera

Before the commercial could start the conversation, a production crew in Wilmington, NC had to put it together. Albert Hedgepeth III, founder of Rendered Communications, said he felt good about the finished product, and he never expected it to be banned from primetime.

More than 40 North Carolina crew members worked on the commercial, and Hedgepeth said their hard work won't be showcased.

"They'd all love to see their work during a big entertainment event like that," said Hedgepeth. "Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like that's going to happen."

Hedgepeth said all the attention on the commercial is good publicity, though not what anyone expected. He denied any plan to make a banned advertisement with the intention of generating extra support.

"That's absolutely not the truth," he said. "We pride ourselves in generating excellent media for all of our clients, no matter what their product or service and that was always the intention of this piece."

The producer said he expects Daniel Defense to return to North Carolina for more commercial production opportunities.

Rules of the game

It is league regulation and not federal law that prohibits the advertising of firearms, ammunition or other weapons on NFL broadcasts.

Daniel realizes the reaction to his commercial being refused has been framed by the national debate on gun rights. He also recognizes an opportunity to place his company at the center of that dialogue, which is what a Super Bowl commercial could do.

"We can say, 'Hey, you have a right to defend your family and I have a right to defend my family and we have the right to choose the best tool for that job,''' said Daniel. "And that is a Daniel Defense firearm.''

Because of the ongoing buzz about his ad, Daniel could end up getting that word out while saving the cost of Super Bowl advertising and still enjoy the game.

"I think the win without getting the Super Bowl run would be, we still get a lot of marketing out of this, we still get the conversation started,'' said Daniel. "And maybe we throw a Super Bowl party and ask Hank Williams Jr. to come.''

Craig Reck of WECT also contributed to this article.

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