Coast Guard Heads Out to Sea

NEW YORK Here comes the U.S. Coast Guard.
 
One of the five branches of the U.S. military with responsibility for coastal security, among other things, the Coast Guard this week launched a television and radio campaign from Cossette, New York.
 
In the 30-second “Thankless Job,” members of the Coast Guard are shown rescuing people in different forms of distress, e.g., a boat that has hit a large group of rocks, people being pulled from fearsome waters and capsizing vessels.
 
Both of the two 30-second TV spots and two radio ads in the campaign are drawn from actual events, with the former showing footage shot during rescues. “We wanted to show real people doing Coast Guard stuff,” said Capt. Steve Vanderplas, commanding officer of the Coast Guard recruiting command in Arlington, Va. As part of that effort, additional information about the rescues that are discussed in the radio ads will appear on www.gocoastguard.com.
 
The Coast Guard is also working on a way to showcase its activities online. “It’s hard to get Hollywood to re-create drug interdictions [one of the Coast Guard’s responsibilities] or a lifesaving event because you lose some of the reality. We’re looking for places to place our content library online,” said Jason Moyer, svp, director of client services and innovation, Cossette.
 
Coast Guard recruits tend to be more educated and older than other members of the service branches, said Vanderplas. “Our average recruit has a little bit of a higher education than the average Department of Defense recruit,” he said. “They join us when school or traditional employment is not giving them the significance they’re looking for. They come to us when they’re looking for meaning that’s bigger than their job.”
 
Other elements of the campaign include ads on employment sites like Monster.com and hotjobs.com, college job fairs, e-mail blasts, text messaging, and banner and print ads.
 
One of the problems the Coast Guard faces is that while it requires a smaller number of recruits than other branches of the military, they generally need to have specialized skill sets.
 
For example, “in Alabama we’re trying to get minority candidates from historically black colleges with engineering degrees,” said Vanderplas. “We’re looking for idealists . . . to lead operations.