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May 27, 2009

Army to bring ad campaign and online activity together through a live experience

An experiential version of the Start Thinking Soldier recruitment campaign for the Army is being produced by Jack Morton Worldwide.

The agency has developed and will implement a creative solution, which creates synergy between the current above-the-line advertising and online gaming initiative, extrapolating the digital community from the virtual realm into an exclusive, bespoke environment. 

The experience, targeting 16 to 21-year-olds, will create a unique and innovative platform to initiate informed recruitment conversations, provide meaningful data on participants and help create advocates for the Army. Jack Morton won the role following a five-way pitch managed by the Central Office of Information. 
While being part of the overall Start Thinking Soldier campaign, the forthcoming experiential activity stands alone and differs in content from the Army Contact Points, which opened in Dalston and Hounslow last month and are not produced by Jack Morton.
The experience will take place at 16 events across the UK, beginning in June and running through to October. The events will also feature at air shows, festivals and skills days. Attendees will include those individuals who have already taken part in the online experience and who have received a special invitation to the events.
The 10-minute experience will involve a bespoke design of six pods housing five digital tasks reflecting the key Army values of mental and physical fitness, leadership and teambuilding, and will allow attendees to experience a voyage of discovery, testing their Army skills. 

The tasks will include taking control of a Challenger II tank at night, defusing an unexploded ordnance using a robot device, piloting a unmanned aerial vehicle over enemy terrain, running through a series of challenges with a virtual squad of soldiers, and testing out a future weapons system with an innovative 3D head tracking targeting interface.

Performance will be logged via RFID wristbands and attendees will receive a debrief after the completion of the tasks from actual Army personnel, giving them valuable feedback on their performance.
Jack Morton is also creating a flexible and easily transportable virtual reality experience to be used in venues, such as schools, colleges and retail outlets.  This will use existing army training simulator software, which will be adapted for use with virtual reality headsets, to deliver a unique experience of the Army. 

This element of the Start Thinking Soldier campaign will launch in May. Both strands of the experience will be managed and produced by Jack Morton and staffed by Army personnel.
“We are delighted to be part of the Start Thinking Soldier campaign. It is a very exciting to have the opportunity to create experiences that truly connect with the target audience and give them a valuable insight into the Army’s many varied and critical roles,” said Julian Pullan, executive vice president managing director EMEA at Jack Morton Worldwide.

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