||More Marketers Hail Veterans, and Try to Help Them, Too
Madison Avenue is paying greater attention to those who are serving or have served in the armed forces. It was true last year, and the year before, and for the 2012 Veterans Day holiday the trend continued to gain strength.
First, the ranks of sponsors of Veterans Day campaigns are expanding beyond retailers to include consumer product marketers. Also, the campaigns are evolving from quotidian affairs -- sales on cars or mattresses -- into programs offering veterans assistance in areas like finding jobs or buying homes.
For instance, the Coca-Cola Refreshments unit of the Coca-Cola Company said that it had exceeded a goal, announced in May, of hiring 800 military veterans.
As of last week, 807 have been brought on board. And more may be hired; information about job opportunities is available at www.enjoycareers.com/military.
Chase, part of JPMorgan Chase, also has a section of its Web site devoted to current and former members of the military, where there is information about programs that include a commitment to hire "at least 100,000 veterans" by 2020 and a plan to give away 1,000 "mortgage-free homes" by 2016 and waive fees and balance requirements on certain accounts.
The USO, which helps service members and their families, has signed up additional sponsors for its annual Grant a Wish for Our Heroes campaign. Marketers and brands like American Crew, AOL, ESPN and Old Navy are joining returning sponsors that include American Airlines, CVS and Cheerios.
Cosmopolitan magazine, published by a division of the Hearst Corporation, teams up with the USO and the Maybelline New York cosmetics brand for a "Kiss Station" located at Father Duffy Square in Times Square.
Passers-by are invited to plant kisses on postcards that will be delivered to the members of the armed forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq in time for another holiday, Valentine's Day.
Other organizations that help veterans and active duty troops are being supported by other marketers. For example, Brooks Brothers is working with Dignity U Wear and its Suits for Soldiers program. It is also offering 25 percent off all in-store purchases, from Thursday through Monday, to active-duty and retired military personnel.
The Uno Chicago Grill restaurant chain is joining with Services for the UnderServed, which assists veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq and their families, by pledging donations to the organization. Uno will donate 10 percent of each sale from a new line of family-size pizzas available for takeout orders.
And the H.J. Heinz Company is helping the Wounded Warriors Project for the second year in a row with a promotion centered on its Heinz ketchup brand.
Consumers are being asked to scan QR codes on the backs of ketchup bottles to send "thank you" messages to active-duty service members and veterans. For each message that is sent, Heinz will donate a dollar to the Wounded Warriors Project.
And for each of those messages that consumers share with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter, Heinz will donate an additional 57 cents, echoing its corporate "57 varieties" slogan. The ceiling for all Heinz donations is $250,000.
Boeing is running a television, print and online campaign aimed at saluting American veterans as well as troops on active duty. The campaign features Boeing employees who have served in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy.
A section of the Boeing Web site is being devoted to "honoring those who serve," at boeing.com/tribute. A 30-second television commercial started running this week and a 60-second version is to make its debut on Sunday.
Three agencies collaborated on the Boeing campaign: DraftFCB, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies; Frontline Communications Partners; and R&R Partners.
(Source: The New York Times, 11/08/12)
What's In It For You:
Whereas programs like these used to run up to Veteran's Day and then vanish for the next 11 months, now marketers stretch them further beyond to maximize consumer awareness and good will. Once the programs go into "rest mode," planning for the next year's program and the expansion of it into new consumer outlets begins. Most of these marketers don't drop their attention to veteran's concerns over the rest of the year, but continue to promote and market at a smaller scale until they can bloom again at a full-scale grand effort again next November. Seek ways to partner and integrate with these marketers throughout the year and you'll have a larger partnership piece of next year's campaign.
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