MILITARY RECRUITING - CASE HISTORIES
Bill Goodwill, first as an account manager with Grey Advertising, and then as a consultant with his own firm, has extensive military public service advertising experience. Mr. Goodwill’s PSA career began as a field account director for the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command in December, 1973 at the outset of the All Volunteer defense concept. His specific assignment at that time was to provide marketing liaison support to 400 Navy recruiters in the Mid-Atlantic Region for the Navy Recruiting Command.
From that assignment, he was promoted to Account Supervisor based within Navy Recruiting Command headquarters in Arlington, VA. There, he was responsible for keeping more than 400 creative projects produced by Grey’s New York headquarters office moving through the approval pipeline on a $27 million advertising account.
After serving as deputy director of the “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” national PSA campaign working under contract with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, he became a Vice President at HJK&A, Washington’s oldest privately held advertising agency. In this capacity he managed all facets of the U.S. Coast Guard recruiting account, including supervising production and distribution of three national PSA campaigns released each year along with a variety of other PSA assignments.
Mr. Goodwill founded his own firm in 1983 which specializes in the distribution, and evaluation of public service advertising campaigns in all media with the U.S. Coast Guard as one of his first clients. Navy Recruiting was then added as a client, soon to be followed by the Air Force, Marine Corps and Army National Guard, all of which were using PSAs as their primary method of reaching youth of enlistment age.
In later years, we handled PSA assignments for the U.S. Department of Defense, Air National Guard, two of the major U.S. military academies (Annapolis and West Point), and the Joint Recruiting Advertising Program (JRAP).
Following are mini-case histories of our work on behalf of the various services and JRAP.
U.S. Department of Defense
Goodwill Communications has handled several PSA assignments for two offices of DoD, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Recruiting & Market Research Studies (JAMRS).
In an attempt to make a smooth transition to the civilian world, DoD retained Goodwill Communications in 1997 to launch a national radio PSA campaign called “Get Connected - Operation Transition.” The campaign was comprised of three different radio PSAs:
To reach the first group – the employers – we developed a distribution list of radio stations in major metropolitan areas of states where departing military personnel have indicated a desire to work and live.
To reach the second group, our distribution plan targeted radio stations in and around military bases across the U.S. Our total distribution plan was comprised of more than 7,000 stations and we handled all packaging, replication and evaluation of the campaign which generated $1.25 million in airtime value.
Joint Advertising, Marketing & Research Studies
To encourage more young people to consider the military services as an employment and career option, we launched a national TV PSA campaign on behalf of the Joint Advertising, Marketing and Research Studies branch of DoD. Themed: “Today’s Military, See It For What it Really Is,” the campaign was distributed to 1,200 broadcast TV outlets and networks as well as our CablePAK shared reel distribution service and it generated $3.5 million in value.
Joint Recruiting Advertising Program (JRAP)
One of the most complicated assignment we have ever tackled in the past 20 years was to develop a comprehensive TV PSA evaluation system for the Joint Recruiting Advertising Program.
While each of the individual military services launches their own PSA campaigns, they also belong to JRAP for certain services that accrue to their common benefit. This includes purchasing high school direct mail lists, conducting market research, and ad hoc advertising efforts, including the PSA evaluation program we developed on their behalf.
What made the assignment so complicated was that each of the military services typically distributes up to a half dozen TV PSA campaigns annually, and our system had to track them all, including many older campaigns that had been in circulation for a number of years.
Further complicating the assignment was the requirement to track PSA exposure from many different sources, including the Broadcast Advertisers Reports, Nielsen’s SIGMA tracking system, and bounce-back card data which resulted from both broadcast and cable stations.
Further, our custom evaluation reports had to break the data down by recruiting offices for each of the individual services. Finally, we developed procedures for compiling monthly management summary reports showing how much exposure each service generated from each type of media by month and year-to-date. The above graph shows how data was compiled and tracked for the participating services each month and the overall total for all the services.
In mid-2000, we distributed a TV PSA on behalf of JRAP called “Teens,” which was sent to over 1,800 TV and cable outlets in both English and Spanish, which generated $2.17 million in advertising exposure.
Air Force Recruiting Service
In early 1992 Goodwill Communications was awarded a contract to distribute and evaluate radio and television PSA campaigns annually for the Air Force recruiting Service. In the early years, Air Force distributed up to three TV PSAs annually and at least one annual radio distribution.
Our initial assignment was to merge Air Force's internal broadcast database with PUBSANS, (Public Service Advertising Analysis System,)™ eliminate duplications and erroneous data; and develop computer software to correlate Air Force's six recruiting Groups and 31 Squadrons with our master database. This enables us to provide media lists and evaluation reports broken out by Groups and Squadrons, thereby giving management much better feedback on PSA coverage. Using this technique, local recruiters also know exactly where media materials are being delivered and they can see specifically where they are getting exposure in their areas of recruiting responsibility.
For the past eight years, we have also distributed a very unique one-hour radio program during the Christmas season called Country Music Time. It is sent to over 2,000 Country and Western stations and features PSAs, artist interviews and Christmas music which are produced by Air Force’s internal broadcast programming department. The 2004 release featured Willie Nelson.
As shown in this graph, the combined value of Air Force broadcast PSA campaigns is $125.2 million worth of advertising support.
Air National Guard (ANG)
In November, 1999, we distributed a national TV PSA campaign for the Air National Guard comprised of two different spots, one titled “State Mission,” and the other a more traditional recruiting spot called “Female Pilot.”
The two PSAs were sent to 1,050 spot market TV stations and networks as well as 500 leading cable systems via CablePAK.
To avoid having to produce two separate TV storyboards, we designed a storyboard that had both spots represented as part of a single storyboard and also incorporated the evaluation bounce-back card into the same form. The PSA release generated $1.5 million in value as shown.
Army National Guard (ARNG)
From 1995-97 when the Army National Guard was in a transitional period between using PSAs and a paid advertising strategy, we were retained to assist them develop a national PSA program.
One of the challenges of working with ARNG was that they are organized at the state level and all materials had to be packaged with a state tag and distributed via state coordinators. To help us develop a smooth interface between our role as the distributor and ARNG’s dub house, we wrote custom software that broke all TV dub formats in our master database down by states. This made it easy for the dub house to replicate exactly the required number in the appropriate format for each state coordinator.
Another extremely challenging aspect of our assignment was the requirement to develop custom software to provide audience data for their TV PSAs to supplement the SIGMA electronic data we use to provide feedback on all aspects of campaign effectiveness. We purchased a data package from Nielsen called “Post-buy,” which was used in conjunction with our SIGMA data to provide feedback on the number of people ARNG was reaching in their primary target audience (18-24 year olds), as well as the number of people reached for individual markets and cumulatively for the campaign. We also worked with an external vendor to provide various report options and a custom reporting format that would permit the data to be sorted by DMA, by age, by highest and lowest rankings, and other parameters.
More recently, the ARNG has been using something called the Non-Commercial Sustaining Agreement program administered by state broadcasters who can guarantee a certain level of PSA exposure, among radio and broadcast TV stations. Since we do not want to interfere with these important relationships, we are working with ARNG to expand their PSA program in cable TV and on XM Satellite Radio. We are currently helping them develop a series of 26 different audio vignettes which will be broadcast to XM Radio’s 2.5 million subscribers.
As shown in this graph, the total value of the campaigns we have distributed for ARNG is $32.5 million.
U.S. Coast Guard
Bill Goodwill as an individual consultant, and later through his firm, has been providing consulting services to the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years. In the early 1980’s Bill was the account supervisor for the Coast Guard advertising contract held by a Washington-based ad agency. In this capacity, he had overall management responsibilities for a multi-million dollar advertising contract. It included everything from purchasing paid advertising in magazines reaching youth, to the production, distribution and evaluation of three broadcast PSAs annually. He supervised TV PSA productions on location in various locations around the continental U.S., as well as Hawaii and Alaska.
In the late 1980’s, when budgets were very tight, one of the techniques we recommended was to produce a series of live announcer postcards distributed to radio stations. On the front of the postcards were “beauty” shots of Coast Guard ships and planes in various locations. The reverse side contained live announcer radio PSAs that could be read by station personnel. These postcards, which were very inexpensive to produce, generated just under $4 million in exposure.
Another innovation Mr. Goodwill introduced on the Coast Guard recruiting ad campaign was to develop procedures to keep local recruiters informed about national advertising strategy. He developed quarterly information kits which showed samples of paid print ads, copies of TV storyboards and background information on where PSAs were being distributed. Each kit had a tip sheet on how to use a particular advertising technique at the local level and a sample of each PSA was included in the kits.
After TV PSA evaluation numbers indicated a decline in attainment, Goodwill ommunications conducted a comprehensive survey among TV community affairs directors, which resulted in some interesting implications and insights. The majority of TV public service directors did not feel that Coast Guard’s perceived mission was relevant to their local community interests. As a result, we did extensive research on the activities of local Coast Guard units around the country, both those located in the hinterlands of the country, as well as those on the coasts. This research led to a re-positioning of the Coast Guard’s TV PSA program, which focused more on Coast Guard activities that were important to local communities using the theme for several PSA campaigns called “The Coasts We Guard. As a result of the repositioning, evaluation data showed a significant increase.
In more recent years, we have distributed and evaluated numerous TV and radio PSA releases, designed to increase public awareness of the Coast Guard’s multiple missions and specific manpower recruiting programs. As shown in the graph above, campaigns we have distributed for the Coast Guard total nearly $73 million.
Navy Recruiting Command (NRC)
After forming his own PSA consulting firm in 1983, Bill Goodwill made a presentation to both the advertising agency that handled the Navy Recruiting Command’s advertising account, and senior management at the NRC. He stressed the importance of developing a strategic public service advertising program and showed how the system he developed called PUBSANS (Public Service Advertising Analysis System) could benefit Navy’s PSA program.
As part of this presentation, Mr. Goodwill used data from the Broadcast Advertisers Report to demonstrate how the Army was gaining more PSA market share in key markets where Navy had large facilities, including Norfolk, VA., Jacksonville, FL., San Diego and several other key markets. This was in spite of the fact that Army spent very little on PSAs, relying mostly on paid advertising to communicate with their enlistment audience, and the fact that Navy should have a very significant presence in these markets.
This analysis was of great interest to Navy Recruiting, and at no cost to the government, Goodwill Communications agreed to prepare an extensive audit of Navy’s PSA program. We examined every aspect of Navy’s PSA program including the number of TV and radio dubs that were being replicated; the formats that were being ordered for dubs; how PSAs were packaged; the media mix that was being used and how Navy communicated with the field regarding its PSA program.
What we found was quite alarming, to say the least. We learned that a significant number of the TV dubs sent to stations each quarter were being replicated in the wrong format.
Mailing lists were very outdated, leading to a high percentage of undeliverable materials, the wrong radio materials were being distributed to stations; large quantities of outdoor billboard paper was sitting unused in government warehouses; and perhaps worst of all there was almost no campaign evaluation.
Based on these findings, we prepared a proposal outlining very specific recommendations and costs for completely restructuring Navy’s public service advertising program, which included the following elements:
Some of this analysis had important implications in terms of future creative development. Our data, for example, showed that TV stations were using more :60s yet the Navy PSA spot lengths were :30s and :15s. This data was used as the basis for creating longer length PSAs.
Re-Positioning Navy PSAs
Undoubtedly the most controversial recommendation we made in the ten years of working with Navy, was to re-position its PSA program in 1997, focusing less on a strong recruiting message and emphasizing its community service work.
While this on the surface may appear to be foolhardy, there was a strong rationale for our recommendation. As long-time members of the National Broadcast Association for Community Affairs, we were increasingly hearing from TV public service directors that they wanted PSAs about important community issues. Unfortunately, military recruiting messages, and Navy’s PSAs specifically, did not meet these requirements. Clearly, we needed to find a way that we could get Navy’s message out to gatekeepers in a format that both represented Navy’s recruiting interests, as well as those of the local gatekeeper.
In researching Navy’s community affairs activities, we learned about the Community Service Program (CSP) comprised of Navy volunteers working in the areas of physical fitness, environmental cleanup, computer assistance to local schools, meal preparation for disadvantaged individuals, and anti-drug abuse work being performed at the community level.
The moment we learned about these activities,we knew we had an answer to our problem and recommended that the future focus of Navy’s PSA efforts should be on the CSP. The CSP messages did not impart a strong recruiting message, but we believed that Navy’s paid advertising already provided a sufficient level of reach and frequency. By working directly with community affairs directors, we made a strong case that Navy’s PSAs should have a message that was relevant to local communities because that’s what gatekeepers wanted.
As shown in this graph, our belief was reinforced by evaluation data. The bar on the left shows the value of the first CSP PSA campaign, “Serving America Twice.” The bar on the right shows a ten-year average of values where stronger recruiting messages were shown. The CSP campaign generated 54 percent more TV PSA support than the recruiting messages and this data was further reinforced by increased exposure in other media as well.
In the ten years we worked with Navy Recruiting, we helped to generate over $90 million worth of PSA airtime, as shown by this graph. This PSA support is all verified by reliable evaluation techniques, including either BAR or SIGMA data in the case of broadcast television; business reply cards that are designed to provide accurate feedback on estimated usage by media, and actual newspaper clippings in the case of print media.
U.S. Marine Corps
We have been providing various PSA distribution and evaluation services to the U.S. Marine Corps since 1993 when they first participated in our CablePAK distribution program. After using that service for a year, the Marines then asked us to prepare a proposal to distribute their regular broadcast TV and radio PSAs. This was a very controversial arrangement because the Marine Corps had a long history of distributing their PSAs via their field recruiter force and there was significant pressure from the field to continue that tradition. However, with increased demands upon recruiters’ time and the fact that there was no uniform, accurate method to evaluate program impact, the Marines began using Goodwill Communications to handle the distribution and evaluation of their entire PSA program beginning in 1994.
One of the challenges of our Marine Corps assignment was that we not only had to break distribution lists and reports down to conform to their field recruiting office structure; we also had to produce “draft” distribution lists for review by the field.
Prior to each release, we would produce draft lists, send them to the field recruiters and then update their changes to our master database prior to launching the campaign. In the early years, this was all done by paper but since then, we have developed procedures to make changes to media lists in real time via the Internet.
The other controversial aspect of our work was that the Marines had always done their own evaluation at the local level and part of the recruiter’s efficiency reports were based on the evaluation numbers reported by recruiters. Obviously this is a very bad arrangement in terms of developing credible evaluation data because few recruiters would consciously report negative numbers if they knew their career would suffer as a result. It did not take long for us to make a strong case for having a credible, independent evaluation process implemented at the national level with both national and local reports.
Similar to our work for most other clients with field offices, all distribution and evaluation reports were broken down by Marine Corps office and we have developed a tri-level password access procedure for Marines that permits National, District and Recruiting Office public affairs officers to see only the data that pertains to their own area of jurisdiction or the offices below them.
In addition to the regular TV PSA releases distributed for Marines, we also distributed special campaigns in recognition of Black History month each February, their annual Toys for Tots drive to encourage donations for needy children and a long-form video commemorating the Marine Corps anniversary. Finally, we developed an outdoor billboard distribution and evaluation program for Marines in 2004. As this graph shows, the total value we have generated for all Marine Corps campaigns is $125 million in exposure.
Armed Forces Support
In the spring of 2000, Goodwill Communications joined forces with another firm to promote a website called Armed Forces Careers.COM. The purpose of the website is to provide young people with objective career information on all of the armed services, compared to the more subjective information to be found on each of the service’s websites.
To promote the website, we created a :60 and a :30 PSA entitled: “Dedication,” that recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of the U.S. military services. The first time the PSA was released it generated $1.024 million in value on 165 cable systems which played the PSA 21,353 times and generated 16,000 user sessions a month resulting in recruiting leads which were referred to the appropriate military service for follow-up.
More recently, we changed the ending tag to use the PSA as a public service message from Goodwill Communications and distributed it two more times to our CablePAK shared-reel distribution service. These two distributions resulted in $2.23 million worth of exposure and we also did a radio lift of the audio track and distributed it to 3,500 radio stations as part of our Radio DiskPAK service which resulted in an additional $133,000 in airtime value.
As we have attempted to point out in this case history our work on behalf of various military services employs just about every technique in our public service advertising arsenal and we have handled far more military work than any other sector since we founded our firm over 20 years ago. The aggregate value of non-paid advertising value we have generated on behalf of our military clients, including our pro-bono armed forces support campaigns is $460 million.