Veterans Day PSAs target Iraq and Afghanistan vets

NEW YORK: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) launched the second year of its Veterans Day PSA campaign with the Ad Council, focusing on a new message and more interaction.

NEW YORK: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) launched the second year of its Veterans Day PSA campaign with the Ad Council, focusing on a new message and more interaction. The campaign aims to further educate the community about the readjustment challenges that veterans face and to encourage veterans to connect with each other.

"'You're not alone' was [last year's] campaign, and now the second part of the campaign is 'We've got your back,'" said Patrick Campbell, chief legislative counsel for IAVA. "It's helping veterans connect with each other and people who had similar experiences. Research has shown that it's the best way for people to re-integrate with society."

The Ad Council and IAVA have been working with Peppercom since January, the first time the Ad Council has contracted pro-bono PR work in the same way it does with advertising firms. Saatchi & Saatchi did the creative for the IAVA PSAs.

"For us, we had initially helped with some partnership developments that are coming to fruition now," said Sara Whitman, senior director at Peppercom. The agency worked to get a custom greeting card for Veterans Day available from Blue Mountain Greetings.

IAVA is also using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to spread the word about the campaign, as well as the main Web site, with the online social community, Community of Veterans.

"Now that we're in the second phase, we're really focusing on how the Community of Veterans has helped make a difference in veterans' lives," Whitman said. "So we're focusing on several local markets and using veteran spokespeople in those markets to break through to the media and encourage participation in the Community of Veterans."

"What we wanted to do was integrate those two and make sure that being part of the Community Of Veterans was being a part of IAVA," Campbell added. "The big thing is that we're talking to veterans, but we're educating the public at the same time."

Several veterans featured in the PSAs are making the media rounds, and the organizations are targeting national and local broadcast, print, and online media, focusing on lifestyle, advertising and media, and publications that cover veterans' issues.

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