The National Guard has been around for ever. They trace their roots back to the minutemen (the ones in Lexington and Concord, not the ones in Arizona and New Mexico).
They are our oldest military institution. And yet, the bulk of Americans aren’t really sure who they are (they mix them up with the Reserves or the regular Army), and the ones that do, well, they’re not that crazy about them (baby boomers remember them from Kent State, and regular military think of them as out-of-shape old guys who play soldier once a month).
Talk about your re-branding opportunities!
So, to be clear – the National Guard is sort of like our domestic Army. Their primary focus is on domestic crises. Like when the Mississippi floods, they’re the ones who come in and man the sandbags and clean up the debris. When a tornado rips Alabama or Missouri apart, they’re the ones who pick up the pieces. When wildfires torch Texas, they’re the ones who get supplies in and people out. By and large they stay state-side, and while they’re certainly trained in killing and combat, they tend to be more about logistics and aid. That’s how they’re different from the other Armed Services.
One of the ways they’re similar to other armed services, however, is their need to attract young recruits. And you can imagine that it’s a challenging sell – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, for good or ill, you know what they are. National Guard? Well, when you have to explain who you are before you can start convincing people why you they should buy, you’ve got an uphill battle.
Plus, unlike the other branches of service, the National Guard had some very specific recruiting needs – doctors, officers, women, Hispanic. How do you create something that can work effectively with all of them? Well, you lean heavy on the wow factor.
You create an Augmented Reality program that is as impressive and attention-getting as it is informative and flexible.
So we brought five of them into the studio, interviewed them on camera to get their real stories, and created distinctive a/r environments for each one – environments that extended the amount of time the viewer engaged and interacted, giving us more time to tell our complex and compelling stories.
Then we put the a/r tag on recruiter business cards, on print ads and on brochures, driving the public to the website where they not only could enjoy the a/r experience, but they could also learn more about how they could become a part of the National Guard. And where we could also capture their contact information for future recruiting.
All in an easy-to-use, high-tech way that hit recruits where they live – on their computers and phones.