SAN DIEGO: The US Naval Special Warfare Command has hired iHigh Marketing to increase ethnic diversity among the Navy SEALs.
The firm will conduct outreach activities in areas considered centers of diversity for black, Hispanic, Arab-American, and Asian and Pacific Islander consumers. These areas include California, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and North Carolina.
The firm has a budget of nearly $1.3 million for its first year. It is eligible for a total award of more than $6.8 million if its contract is renewed for four option years, according to an award notice.
The campaigns will target consumers ages 16 to 24, as well as others in their lives such as athletic directors, religious clergy, and family members, according to the RFP documents.
Minorities represent fewer than 20% of the total number of enlisted SEALs, and black Americans represent fewer than 2% of SEAL officers. The Special Warfare Command has found that “traditional SEAL team demographics will not support some of the emerging mission elements that will be required," according to the RFP.
The incumbent on the account was Equals Three Communications. Losing the account has proved near fatal to the organization as it laid off numerous staffers and shuttered its doors recently. Equals Three now exists as a virtual organization.
The Navy viewed the two years that Equals Three worked on the account as a pilot phase, said Scott Williams, a marketing and communications officer at the Special Warfare Command. Equals Three's efforts only focused on the Washington DC and Baltimore metro areas.
“We wanted to expand our outreach,” Williams said.
While declining to say why the Navy let Equals Three go, he felt “we accomplished our goal of increasing awareness,” he said. “Whether that ultimately translates to more people coming in to the Navy Special Warfare Command remains to be seen. It's a long-term process.”
A representative from iHigh Marketing did not respond to a request for comment.