"Straight from Iraq" takes gold
September 25, 2009
- The Army's "Straight from Iraq" campaign won gold in the "Idea for New Product or New Content" category at the Jay Chiat Awards.
NEW YORK - The U.S. Army and its agency MRM Worldwide McCann Worldgroup won Gold earlier this week at the prestigious Jay Chiat Awards for the strategic excellence of its online program, "Straight from Iraq." The Jay Chiat Awards, established in 2003, are sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.
In awarding this honor, the judges singled out the idea, content, execution and tangible results in the Army's ability to achieve its marketing objective of familiarizing prospects about deployment in the Middle East and enabling them to engage directly with real Soldiers in theater. This program, in conjunction with the Army's larger marketing efforts, helped the U.S. Army meet its recruiting goals in FY09.
"We've spent a lot of time making sure we know what's on young people's minds these days and being where they are in the social media space. We've found that many of the barriers to consideration exist because there simply has been no dialogue," said Lt. Gen Benjamin C. Freakley, Commanding General of U.S. Army Accessions Command. "As America's Army, we know how important it is to stay connected to our young men and women. They crave conversations that are real and transparent. 'Straight From Iraq' was as real as it gets."
"Straight From Iraq" picked up the Gold for the "Idea for New Product or New Content" category, which selects the best strategic thinking that led to the development of a new product, service or content idea.
The Jay Chiat Planning Awards are given out each year in recognition of marketing campaigns that have a strong insight about the consumer and a well-honed strategy that guides the creative execution to solve a business challenge.
In developing "Straight from Iraq," the Army's marketing and research teams were able to surmount one of the most important barriers to Army enlistment among 17 to 24-year-olds-deployment in Iraq. No topic was off limits. Prospects could ask what it was like to take cover while an M1 Abrams tank fired on an insurgent hideout or inquire about the overall quality of food served in the dining facility.
The campaign consisted of a Web video series where Army Soldiers stationed in the Middle East answered Prospects' questions in a public, online forum on the goarmy.com site. By reading the questions on camera and then answering them on camera, U.S. Army Soldiers stationed overseas established an open dialogue with their peers in the US.
"I think a significant reason why we won the Gold was because the Army program was seen as 'pioneering' and 'risk taking,' which the judges said were important factors in their decision for this category," said Catherine Mayone, SVP, Director of Strategic Services at MRM Worldwide.
"Straight from Iraq" went live on goarmy.com in December 2008 and played an integral role in helping to meet the FY09 mission recruitment goals. The experience was created in partnership with MRM Worldwide, a wholly owned operating company of McCann Worldgroup, which developed the "Army Strong" campaign.
This award is the latest in a recent string of industry accolades awarded to the Army marketing program. The program has been recognized for both its effectiveness as well as its creativity across a multitude of communications platforms, and by a wide range of industry organizations including the Effies, Webbies, OneShow, MIXX, AHAA and Sabre Awards competitions.