Who is the new advertising agency?
As of May 20th, our new agency is Young & Rubicam, also known as Y&R. They are a global company with headquarters in New York.


What can they bring to the table?
They are a large and diverse company, so they’ve got depth, expertise and buying power. They also have a network of subsidiaries that are going to make up what we are calling the Navy Partnership. Additionally, in July they are going to open an office in downtown Memphis that is going to handle the bulk of the Navy work so whenever we need to see them it won’t require someone to travel.

How will this change affect the Navy’s STEM vehicles?
The current STEM vehicles were cutting edge at the time that we purchased them but we recognize that they need to be updated. We are looking for more impact and a more interactive experience. The N9 team and Y&R have come up with some good ideas for what will replace them. The basic idea – one larger display and one smaller, more portable display will remain the same. We expect to have these new assets up and running by the end of the summer. Even though Campbell Ewald is not our agency anymore, we extended the contract for the current STEM 1 and STEM 2 vehicles to maintain coverage for the field until then.

How will the new contract affect Navy recruiting?
We are taking a completely fresh look at how we are doing our advertising. We are going to be doing much more targeted messaging. For that we are going to need data; and fortunately, we have a great relationship with Google, which has the ability to provide insights on what sites people visit, what they search for, and what their interests are when they search for information on the Navy. One interesting insight that Google has given us so far is that people who search for the Navy online show more interest in individual-oriented sports like mixed martial arts and swimming than in traditional stick-and-ball sports like football and baseball. This tells us we need to consider where we place our advertising – maybe we want less college football, and more coverage of events like the Crossfit Games.

What projects will the new agency help facilitate to enhance Navy recruiting advertising?
We are going to be scaling our relationships with social media properties like LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks. Y&R has the ability to establish those relationships, scale buying power and make it more affordable. We are going to be looking to replace our convention displays both at the national and local level. We are also going to be exploring things like 360 degree video and virtual reality. Many objections and knowledge gaps on the part of prospects center on the lifestyle and “what’s it really like” questions, and the better we can capture that information and present it to them in a compelling way, the better we are going to be able to overcome these obstacles.


Why did Navy Recruiting decide to switch agencies?
It wasn’t our decision. This was part of a normal rhythm of how contracts get re-competed every five years. Both the incumbent agency Campbell Ewald and Y&R both put forward proposals. The proposals were evaluated price-blind by people who were in a position to judge them based on their merits. Those evaluations then went up to the Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center, a contracting agency in Philadelphia, and they made the final call.


What can the field expect to see differently?
The field can expect to see more and better leads, and that is a critical point. It’s much more efficient to have qualified and interested people show up to their doorsteps than it is for them to have to go out and look for them. The better of a job we can do generating leads and blueprinting them properly and getting that information into R-Tools or PRIDEMOD2, the more qualified applicants the field can expect. It is all about making the recruiter’s job easier. They will also see more and better field displays and convention support.

What will be needed from the field to strengthen the new partnership?
Two things. One is feedback. That feedback is really critical and I want to make sure that recruiters understand that we are listening and we do value what they are saying, even if I can’t do everything or make changes as fast as I would like. The second is that we need accurate data from the recruiters. We base a lot of our decisions on where and how to advertise on information drawn from NALTS and R-Tools, specifically as it pertains to lead sources and disposition codes. For the agency to determine the right advertising mix and figure out what works and what doesn’t, that data has be to be accurate. If the information is flawed coming in, I can’t necessarily count on the right decisions being made by us here at headquarters.

When can we expect the new ads to be rolling out?
In terms of timing, we are looking to do some minor revisions on the current ads (The Shield and Pin Map) to help extend their life until we get the new ones on the street. We don’t know exactly when the new ones will come out, possibly at the end of FY17 or beginning of FY18. That is all going to depend on a variety of other things as well.

Is the new agency going to help develop the Navy’s new slogan?
Preliminary research has already begun on what we want in a themeline to replace “A Global Force For Good”, and we hope to get approval from Navy leadership on a new one by the end of FY17. The approvals for this go way up the chain of command, so it’s just not an inherently fast process.

What do you most look forward to with this new contract?
Energy, new ideas, and professionalism. Y&R brings so much to the table; I really look forward to working with all of the new team members. They are so eager and proud to have the ability to represent the Navy and make a contribution to one of the Services.


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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)