GSD&M Breaks USAF Recruiting Spots

DALLAS In two U.S. Air Force recruitment commercials breaking this week, Omnicom’s GSD&M took a low-key approach to attracting young men and women to jobs that don’t involve piloting a jet or bombing enemy forces.

The two TV spots, “Food” and “Cops,” have a before-and-after structure, showing teenage boys in civilian situations that translate to jobs in the Air Force. The tagline, “We’ve been waiting for you,” appears between the bookend scenes.

In “Food,” a boy in high school casually collects an apple, chips and a sandwich from his classmates in the lunchroom, then gives the food to a homeless man outside the school. The next scene shows him working as a loadmaster, shoving parachute-equipped crates of food from an Air Force cargo plane.

“Cops” shows two police officers in a squad car prowling the streets at night. One says, “There he is,” and the other shines a spotlight on a teenage boy who shields his eyes. The boy walks to the car and one of the cops says, “We crashed again.” The boy pushes a couple of keys on the squad car’s computer to get it running. The computer whiz then appears as an Air Force airborne ops tech.

GSD&M account director Lee Pilz said the low-key tone with minimal sound was designed to capture viewer attention.

“We intentionally have no voiceover, so we’re asking the viewer to figure it out for themselves,” Pilz said. “We don’t necessarily want the viewer to know where the spots are going in the first half, so that it’s more of an ‘aha’ approach.”

Daniel Russ and Brian Born were creative directors on the spots, with Bryan Edwards as art director and Victor Carnozzi as copywriter.

The Austin, Texas, shop said it would break two additional TV spots for the Air Force in January. “Tornado” will debut in movie theaters in October before going to broadcast next year, Pilz said. The ad shows how a young woman’s interest in weather translates to a career tracking storms via space-based instruments in the Air Force. “Lost” presents a young man’s ability to lead friends to safety in a snowstorm as a leadership credential in the Air Force.

Pilz said the Air Force would spend about $45 million on media this year. The service’s recruitment goal is 37,000 men and women.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan do not affect Air Force recruits as directly as those enlisting in the Army or Marine Corps, Pilz said, adding about as many are attracted to USAF service because of the conflicts as are deterred.