The Air National Guard, a reserve unit of the U.S. Air Force, is hitting the road with its second Rise to the Challenge tour, a 23-week interactive campaign that through mid-November will travel to festivals, air shows and music and sports events. The tour this year features new gaming challenges and a free mobile app called Air Taptics.
The Rise to the Challenge tour, which launched in mid-June, engages and educates the public about the Air Guard and its technologically focused career paths via seven gaming challenges that test players’ electronic, mechanical, observational and spatial aptitudes, such as refueling a B-2 Spirit bomber mid-air or efficiently packing a cargo hold. Its primary target is men and women ages 17 to 24, the optimal age for Air Guard potential recruits, with a secondary audience age range of 25 to 39.
Two trailers, a 24-foot and a 36-foot, will travel separately to 46 events for a combined total of 140 event days. On site, the trailer’s back door drops down to become a ramped entrance that simulates an Air Guard G-17 Globemaster III cargo plane with netting and ribbing on the floor and ceiling. The inside walls with the gaming challenges take on the look and feel of Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance command stations. Wall-mounted flat screen TVs and touch screen monitors add a sleek, technologically savvy feel. The trailers and Air Guard literature also feature QR codes that lead to more information and a 15-second clip on its website. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and a website, goang.com, extend the experience online.
Participants activate bar-coded badges at a Mission Command Center, then scan the badges at each challenge station to play the games and record results. Recruiters simultaneously track their scores and proficiencies for each challenge with the goal of having an on-the-spot conversation about how the challenge relates to a career in the Guard.
The Guard is tracking overall leads, interactions, on-the-road impressions and QR code click-throughs as well as other key performance indicators. “It’s all about the numbers,” Rondal Perry, division chief of marketing, advertising and resources at the Air National Guard, told Buzz. “This may be a fun thing to do, but it must be worth the taxpayers’ money.” Agencies: LM&O, Arlington, VA; Marketing Werks, Chicago.