The Buntin Group Gives Girl Scouts a Cooler Image

Girl Scout campfires and cookie sales no longer appeal to a generation of teenagers weaned on a more active lifestyle.

That realization, coupled with reduced enrollments among middle- and high-school girls, triggered The Buntin Group’s radical new advertising campaign for the Girl Scout Council of Cumberland Valley.

Headlined “Join Troop 2002,” the Nashville, Tenn., shop’s television, print and interactive work is built around Japanimation-style visuals and throbbing electronica music.

Taglines like “Campfire songs: The remix” and “Be part of a girl band” make the point that scouting is not only wholesome, it’s hip.

“Girl Scout leadership has refined its curriculum to include exciting things like adventure sports and technology,” said John Varney, Buntin’s account supervisor on the pro-bono effort. “We wanted to portray these new, more exciting activities and leave the campfire image behind.”

The TV campaign breaks this week on Comcast cable outlets carrying the Animal Planet, MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon channels in middle Tennessee, northern Alabama and southern Kentucky.

Those markets encompass some 26,000 prospective scouting recruits, the client said.

Print executions, in the form of highly stylized posters, are scheduled to appear in schools, community centers and churches. A media buy in teen-oriented periodicals is under consideration.

The campaign is grounded in research Buntin’s Kathy Canady conducted among former and current Girl Scouts as well as nonmembers between the ages of 8 and 14. The survey revealed that teens perceived the Girl Scouts as “uncool and primarily for younger kids.”

“With the in-sights we gleaned,” said Canady, “we crafted spots with little resemblance to traditional ad-vertising. In fact, it may not appeal to parents, which may be part of its appeal to girls.”

Campaign production credits go to creative director Jeffrey Buntin Jr., art director Jason Skinner and copywriter Ray Reed. Jonathan Richter of Nashville’s Purgatory Film Comission handled direction and animation.