In 2009, the Obama Administration committed to ending Veteran homelessness in the United States. Spurrier Group had the privilege of helping the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with this important national initiative from 2011 to 2014.
Who Were We Talking To (The Audience)
Although there is a perception that many homeless Veterans are from the Vietnam era, there are ever increasing numbers from more recent foreign engagements. Thus, we developed a media strategy that would appeal to young returning combat Veterans as well as their families, first responders and other emergency personnel.
What Did We Want To Tell Them (The Strategy)
The focus of the campaign was to increase awareness of the Department’s aid resources and encourage Veterans and their influencers to reach out to the Department’s Call Center for assistance.
How Did We Tell Them (The Creative)
Our prime contractor and creative partner, Reingold, knew that some of the Veterans in need were too proud to seek assistance. After all, asking for help after you have defended your country and earned medals for your valor can be a big step. Their creative strategy was to remind veterans that asking for help was ok and that the Department was here to help them not judge them.
Where Did We Tell Them (The Media)
Market selection was based on a combination of factors, including VA assets on the ground and population numbers for both target audiences –Vietnam-era Veterans and younger returning combat Veterans. Media channels included national radio, national cable, regional digital and video share, and regional out-of-home.
Was It Effective (The Results)
Throughout our relationship with the Department, the number of homeless Veterans continued to inch downward. Every year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases a detailed report to Congress about the state of homelessness in the United States. As part of this study, they measure the total number of homeless Veterans in the country on the same day every year to determine the overall rate of change. In 2009, the total number of homeless Veterans was 74,050. In 2014, it had decreased by 32.57% to 49,933.