United States Navy: Navy Influencer- NAVYForMoms.com
Category: Business and Consumer Services
Country where program ran: United States
Date program started/ended: 1st March 2008
Product Description: Change parents' perceptions regarding their children enlisting in the Navy. We built a social network where moms of high school/college-aged kids can talk to moms who currently have children serving in the Navy. The site exceeded annual membership objectives in less than six months. Viral, members from 50 states/overseas.
Advertiser/Client Name: United States Navy
Media Channels: TV/Video/Radio
If a young adult is interested in serving in the Navy, they usually talk to mom first — she's the principle gatekeeper. Efforts to engage parents remained an enormous obstacle. Navy's intractable communications challenge: Get mom to consider the real risks and rewards of having a son or daughter in the Navy. Imagine you are a mom, calmly preparing dinner, when your 17-year-old comes in and announces, 'Mom, I want to join the Navy.' It's like a punch to the, gut — a visceral response of fear. Your first thought is that your child could be hurt. Worse still, killed. There's no logic, only raw emotion: You don't want your son or daughter going to a place of great danger, especially during a time of war, where death is a very real possibility. There's no way you're going to support this decision. It's what the agency dubbed the 'mom moment' and the response is always the same: 'Not my kid!' Moms are so afraid of military service that they are far more likely than not to talk their child out of a career in the military. And, in the past several years, the number of parents who are willing to recommend the military for their children is decreasing rapidly — 31% in 2004 to just 22% in 2007. Yet the Navy must sign 3,750 new recruits every month to continue to protect the nation and deliver aid around the globe. Decades of experience and research document limited effectiveness of scores of initiatives to mitigate the powerful negative influence of gatekeeper moms who remain distrustful of recruiter explanations and most often refuse to take in or reject outright information and emotional appeals of traditional marketing and advertising approaches. Other military branches and even Department of Defense communications treat this 'mom moment' as something to be feared. Their communications focus on the 'big decision, knowing all the facts and then talking to your child' - a similar message parents hear from the anti-drug and anti-sex campaigns.