Why social media users are drawing a ‘V’ on their palms this Veterans Day

It’s part of a challenge started by USAA.

SAN ANTONIO: Social media users will be seeing photos of the letter “V” drawn on people’s palms next to initials on Wednesday.

The activation is part of USAA’s Veterans Day campaign, with the “V” short for “veterans.”

The organization, which provides banking and insurance services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, is challenging users to draw the letter on their palms along with the initials of veterans. It’s also asking them to share a picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Snapchat with the hashtag #HonorThroughAction.

The USAA has also created a page with information on how people can thank the nearly 18 million living U.S. military veterans.

USAA is inviting Americans to support organizations such as nonprofit partner The Mission Continues. The Mission Continues empowers veterans facing the challenge of adjusting to life at home and encourages volunteerism.

USAA is also teaming up with more than 25 influencers, including celebrities, athletes and veterans to spread the #HonorThroughAction message. Participating influencers include country musician Chris Young and basketball coach Derek Fisher.

“We are asking our influencers to go and share and celebrate on their channels veterans and what they do for us and the nation,” said USAA communications head Lindsey O’Neill. “We have never worked with influencers to this extent. Some are veterans and some reach veteran audiences.”

The campaign began last Friday, when USAA issued a press release about the effort. This week, the organization has been talking up the importance of veterans and what they mean to USAA and the nation, said O’Neill.

“[We are communicating about] the important place veterans hold in our heart and our country,” she explained. “It is so core to USAA’s mission and who we serve. We are making sure we allow employees to celebrate and thank veterans and asking those in the community to do so, as well.”

The campaign’s local market strategy includes family craft activities. At installations including Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, USAA partnered with Armed Services YMCA to deliver 7,500 craft kits. It’s hoping families will share their creations on social media.

“It’s a great way to get the family involved and get them to have a conversation about the significance of Veterans Day and what that means,” said O’Neill.

USAA worked with 160over90 worked on the PR and influencer elements; it did not work with PR AOR Weber Shandwick on the campaign. 


In July, USAA started making changes to its in-house marketing and comms team with the goal of promoting, protecting and advocating for the association as it approaches its 100th anniversary next year.

The organization named Tony Wells as chief brand officer to oversee functions including marketing, military affairs, corporate communications, brand shared services, diversity and inclusion and corporate responsibility, including the USAA Foundation and USAA Educational Foundation. USAA also promoted Mayra Rivera to CMO and named O’Neill as chief communications officer.

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