National Guard to recruit a 'Rock Star' image at events

WASHINGTON: In August, the US Army National Guard will launch a mobile marketing campaign, supported by outreach to local media, to sign up recruits at various music festivals and other outdoor events.

WASHINGTON: In August, the US Army National Guard will launch a mobile marketing campaign, supported by outreach to local media, to sign up recruits at various music festivals and other outdoor events.

Developed and executed by RedPeg Marketing on behalf of prime contractor Docupak, the "Rock Star Hero Challenge," as the campaign is called, features a tour bus with 52-inch touch screen displays that allow potential recruits to see and participate in virtual missions.

Interactive kiosks where visitors can pose with images of rock bands will sit outside the buses, tying into the musical nature of the events and emphasizing the figurative "rock star" quality of Army National Guard members.

The 12-week tour begins the first weekend in August and will go to about four events per week, with each event expected to last eight to 12 hours and draw 50,000 to 100,000 attendees.

Despite earlier reports of problems meeting recruitment goals since the Iraq war, LTC Joseph Day, chief of the Army National Guard's strategic actions and marketing, said that the National Guard is currently on track to meet its recruiting goal for 2008. Since 2005, it has increased its "end strength" total from 330,000 to 380,000.

RedPeg will manage outreach to local media covering music festivals and sports events like NASCAR races and bass-fishing tournaments.

"Recruiters will know about the events [in advance] and pre-market them," said RedPeg president and CEO Brad Nierenberg. "The events will be a way to engage with consumers who haven't considered the National Guard before now."

Day said that recruiting is typically done on a local, grassroots level, with recruiters attending any large event where its "target demographic" might be found.

"The interactive nature makes the 'Rock Star Hero' different and will appeal to our demographic's thirst for technology," Day said.

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