To attract tech-minded millennial youth and young adults, the Air Force Recruiting Service has launched its latest experiential asset—the Air Force Performance Lab, which it is calling its most personalized mobile tour yet. Designed to highlight career opportunities, the Lab has activated eight times since its launch on May 18. And after visiting air shows, schools and other events, the tour will wrap Nov. 12-15 at the NASCAR Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 in Phoenix.
The hyper personalization begins at registration with RFID wristbands that capture attendee data and track and compute their scores throughout the five interactives on-site. The Air Force is able to assess qualified leads through its digital data capture program and from there, recruiters are able to connect with attendees in real-time and answer any questions they might have about the Air Force or a specific career field.
Once inside the lab, housed in a bump-out 18-wheeler trailer, attendees are competing with each other via a series of challenges and gamification interactives that test spatial and mechanical skills, dexterity, situational awareness, logic and reasoning and physical strength. The experience begins with high-tech puzzles offered on 42-inch touch screen monitors mounted vertically and equipped with two-minutes quizzes.
From there, consumers move to the Oculus Rift activation, which represents the largest mixed use of technology in an Air Force recruiting experience—combining Kinect 2 motion sensory tech and Oculus Rift VR. Attendees are strapped into a cockpit setting equipped with rumble packs to mimic the vibrations of a jet, a joystick and then the Oculus headset. Lasting several minutes, the 360-degree skills blind course has consumers flying an F-35 and following a wingman through a canyon. The goal is to navigate through graphical rings and be as accurate as possible.
Outside the trailer, attendees can take part in a Kinect 2-based physical challenge where they choose a special ops airman or airwoman and compete against them, virtually, to see how many pull-ups they can do in 30 seconds. All throughout the experience, the consumers’ individual scores are displayed on an on-site leaderboard.
The final experience (beyond the stationary F-16 Thunderbird display) is the interactive career center featuring a wall of 30 removable iPads that each display information on an Air Force career. The center is helping the Air Force reinforce the marketing messaging that its branch of the armed services offers more than 150 careers.
“This is our flagship asset for 2015 and it’s been a huge hit since our launch,” says Major Jacob Chisolm, chief-event branch at the Air Force. “We’re trying to reach those with a particularly heightened interest in science, technology, engineering and math and we’ve made a concerted effort this year to target folks interested in special operations through the experiences in the footprint.”
So far the tour has attracted 3,870 registrants with an average of 61 qualified leads per event. Visitors on average are spending 15 minutes in the footprint. Agencies: GSD&M, Austin (activation); Craftsmen Industries, St. Charles, MO (build); FISH (technology); Reel FX (production); Next Marketing (tour operations).