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New, Joint DoD Ads Urge Parent-to-Kid Talks About Military

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2005 – The Department of Defense today debuted a new joint, national awareness campaign aimed at encouraging parents, and other influencers of youth, to be prepared for what can be a tough conversation, a defense official said.

The ads, part of the Defense Department's Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies program, urge parents and educators to "make it a two-way conversation" when their children or students broach the subject of military service, Air Force Maj. René Stockwell, the program's chief of joint advertising, said. Parents can do this by brushing up on the military with the information found on the "Today's Military" Web site at www.todaysmilitary.com.

"We find that the many parents are not informed about what the military is really about," Stockwell said. "They think that most people are going to serve in the war. They don't know about the unique jobs that we offer, the educational opportunities, or what it's like being part of something greater than yourself. That's the purpose of our campaign: to try to inform them and educate them about what the military is really about."

Shot from the parents' point-of-view, the advertising campaign depicts a series of one-sided conversations between young adults considering military service and their parents. The children explain why military service is a good career option and are met with silence. A narrator then encourages the parent to "make it a two-way conversation" by broadening their understanding of military service through the information found on the Today's Military Web site.

In addition to the information on the Today's Military Web site, four TV commercials hit the airwaves on national cable TV today. Advertisements can also be seen online, in magazine advertisements and in televised public service announcements.

While the target audience is anyone who is influential in a young person's life, one influence is usually greater than others, said Darlan Harris, communications manager for Mullen Advertising, which is handling the campaign.

"The decision to join the military is one that we believe is really an important one to make," Harris said. "The most responsible way to do that is to involve the people in your life, and oftentimes parents are those that are most involved."

It all comes down to educating those who influence young people about the opportunities afforded by the military, Stockwell said.

"The more informed parents and influencers are about the military, the better prepared (they'll be) to have that informed discussion and encourage their children or their young people in their career choices," she said.

The program provides the military branches' active and reserve components with market research and analysis and advertising to create a receptive recruiting environment by promoting the value of military service to adult influencers.

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