Groundbreaking PSA “Camo” Released for Returning Troops Today
Posted by Terrell Frazier on November 11
Groundbreaking PSA “Camo” Released for Returning Troops Today
“We’ve Got Your Back” Campaign Directs Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to Online Community Just for New Veterans
Today, on Veterans Day, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, launched an innovative new series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) as a part of its National Veteran Support Campaign with the Ad Council.
Building on the theme of “We’ve Got Your Back”, the bold campaign aims to ease the readjustment challenges facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as they transition from combat to civilian life. The campaign encourages new veterans to find support by joining IAVA’s online community at www.iava.org, the first social network exclusively for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Inside this community, veterans will find mental health resources, educational information and tips on how to navigate the VA. The television PSAs feature the latest in computer-generated imagery and powerful music. They were created pro bono by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi in New York. The PSAs will be featured in donated media across the country including TV, outdoor, radio, and online.
“This Veterans Day, we want veterans across America to know that IAVA has one message: We’ve Got Your Back. This powerful new campaign is a wake-up call to America and a resounding demonstration of support for our veterans. The campaign features real veterans, and was created by real veterans, to support our fellow veterans. The online community leverages the latest in social media to create a place where new veterans can support one another, both in their transition home and through challenges like the tragedy at Fort Hood last week,” said IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. “We hope all Americans will view this important PSA and pass it on to everyone they know. IAVA thanks the Ad Council and Saatchi & Saatchi for being such committed partners.”
The new PSAs build on the success of the campaign over the past year. The first PSA, “Alone”, was seen by millions and received tremendous support from the media community at large. In the first year, the campaign incredibly received almost $40 million in donated media, thanks to strong supporters like MTV, CNN, CBS and Hulu.
IAVA’s online community has become a robust social network helping thousands of veterans with their transition home. The community does so by providing suicide hotline information, message boards, GI Bill assistance information, and a range of user-generated support groups like “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Support for Texas Vets,” “Purple Heart Recipients” and hundreds more. Over 3,000 veterans have joined the community and the site has been visited over 700,000 times by more than 500,000 unique visitors. With veterans from every state represented, the community has become a critical tool for connecting veterans who are often geographically dispersed, and might otherwise experience feelings of isolation and loneliness.
The new TV, radio, outdoor and online PSAs utilize the visual metaphor of camouflage and cutting-edge computer generated imagery (CGI) to communicate to veterans that they are not alone and their fellow veterans “have their back,” even when they may not realize it. In the TV spot, a veteran is seen logging onto the community at IAVA.org from a coffee shop as other veterans, who are camouflaged with the neighborhood surroundings, emerge from their environment to greet him. The camouflaged veterans were dressed in painted uniforms and once on set, their hands and faces were painted completing the effect and causing the veteran to actually disappear into the background. The shoot became an event in itself as IAVA invited veterans from across the West Coast to participate in the production in Los Angeles. Still photos of the historic shoot are available to press upon request.
Press can access campaign materials, including the TV spot and print ads at: www.iava.org/adcouncil2009.
The Iraq and Afghanistan veterans featured in the PSAs include:
Ronaldo Zulueta, Santa Barbara, CA, currently serves as a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard. From September 11, 2004 to December 2005 he deployed to Iraq as an Automated Logistical Specialist. He later deployed to Afghanistan from July 2008-April 2009.
Clay Hunt, Los Angeles, CA, currently serves as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps. In 2007, Clay deployed to Fallujah, Iraq as a Scout/Sniper. On March 14, 2007, he was critically wounded, and received a Purple Heart. Clay deployed a second time to Afghanistan from April 2008-November 2008.
Daniel Lehman, San Marcos, CA, served as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, for two tours. He first deployed to Afghanistan in 2001, and again to Iraq in 2003.
Benjamin Gardener, Los Angeles, CA, served as a Boatswain Mate in the U.S. Navy. In support of the war in Afghanistan, Benjamin deployed to the United Arab Emirates from December 2004 – May 2005. He is currently a member of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).
Adam Bryant is Membership Assistant for IAVA and an Afghanistan veteran. From January 2007 to January 2008 he served in Kabul on a civil military operations team, which completed and initiated more civil projects to build schools, roads, and wells than any other previous rotation.
Cara Hammer is a Veteran Support Associate for IAVA. In 2002, Hammer joined the active army, serving with the First Infantry Division in Kitzingen, Germany before deploying to Tikrit, Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005 with the 1st Infantry Division Property Book Office.
Tom Tarantino is an Iraq veteran and a Policy Associate for IAVA. As a Cavalry Platoon Leader, Tarantino led security patrols through North Baghdad, providing stability and support to Iraqis trying to rebuild the country. Most recently, Tarantino was stationed at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, CA, where he trained troops preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jennifer Hunt is a Project Coordinator for IAVA who has served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. On both tours she worked closely with Iraqi and Afghan civilians to rebuild their country’s infrastructure. During her tour of Iraq she received a Purple Heart for sustaining shrapnel wounds and electrical burns when a roadside bomb struck her vehicle.
IAVA has helped thousands of veterans. Here are some of their stories:
On Sunday, March 18th, IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and…
On August 5th, IAVA Member Veterans joined President Obama at the Navy Yard…