Re: BSA scouting image (was Re: Sad night...)
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Wed, 21 Dec 1994 18:55:08 CST
Kipp Davis <paintre@U.WASHINGTON.EDU> writes:
>Just about everyone watches TV and TV is what shapes many peoples
>opinions on most subjects. BSA needs to mount a massive campaign to show
>scouting in a different light. Scouts have been portrayed in the past as
>goody-goody nerds and that image sticks in peoples minds. That image
>needs to be replaced by one that shows intelligent, popular, young men
>as scouts, camping, leading, crafting, biking and all the other
>activities that make scouting FUN!
The current PSA (public service announcement) campaign emphasizes
those facts, at the same time hammering down the "five undesirables"
of the BSA in a way that most kids can associate with it, Kipp. The
MAIN problem, is of course, that these ads are free, public service
announcements and NOT commercial advertisments during primetime TV
Which television programs do we place those ads on? Most if not all
local COMMERCIAL TV stations place PSAs in the mid-afternoon (3-5pm)
and during the late night (after 11pm ET), periods that most kids
don't see because of play or bedtimes. There has been a LOT of
success with underwriters paying the commerical fees (which can be
HIGH, depending on program shown during) and running the PSAs during
a commerical program. So, which ones and how does it get paid for?
Many Council chartered-partners don't want to pay for television ads.
They would rather pay for new units, or for patches for all kids, or
something more concrete. Ashland Oil, for instance, used to
underwrite PSAs in many local Councils; now, they want to see more of
a return for their monies and they pay for the Eagle Scout Recognition
kits in several local Councils. It's a larger amount but every time
a Council gets an Eagle, the fact that they supported the presentation
and recognition of an Eagle Scout, goes a lot further than the fact
that "we underwrite the cost of showing you this 30 second ad at
7:17pm every day".
>In the past, I have seen excuses, saying that this sort of advertising is
>available to councils from the national level, but I believe it is the
>responsibility of the national administrators to promote the image of
>scouting on a nationwide and massive level. People need to see it over
>and over and over to be able to replace the image that is stuck in their
>minds. They need to see Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouts gowing up to be Boy
>Scouts, Eagles and Explorers.
(the majority of Explorers have NEVER been Scouts, Kipp!)
(*personal note here: I someday want to be that person that appears
on "Donahue" or "Ophah" or even "Good Morning America" and tell the
nation about the Scouting program, accompanied by the current National
Lodge Chief or the National Explorer President. The BSA used to do
that, many years ago but stopped doing that in 1979 because it was
"not panning out". That's when the BSA hired a PR agency to replace
their great in-house PR folks that used to go to malls and shopping
centers and set up a standard BSA exhibit and take lead cards to the
local Council office. Oh man, *those* were the days!!!!
The problem was that those BSA volunteer and three professionals would
sometime get into shouting matches with those that disagreed with the
BSA's emerging stance on the "three Gs". This is also a major reason
why the BSA will NOT provide, as a standard course, a "national
spokesman" to appear on national shows to state the BSA point-of-view.*)
You are right, Kipp. Unfortunately, the monies that would go to do
this kind of thing has been eaten up by the BSA's many lawsuits and
settlements out-of-court; by teleconfering events for professionals
and key volunteers; and by production of videotape training and
coaching materials. Every local Council can order and have been
*shoved down their throats* the six PSAs which illustrate all of the
BSA's programs (and as Mike McDonald updated us, is also available in
Spainish and is constantly being updated to reflect our changing
programs). National would rather have the local Council, whom have
some level of communication and/or cooperation with local television
AND radio media outlets, to handle the coordination. This keeps the
National staff free to respond and develop more materials for the
local Council to use. In that way, I as the Council's Media
Relations Chair can go to the local TV station, talk with the folks
there and get their cooperation on showing the PSA on Cub Scouting
during an episode of "Full House" or "Family Matters" (we only have a
ABC affiate here, and the station's suffering a LOT from lack of
advertising; there's seven other stations in Nashville that get much
of our advertising monies).
CABLE Television is perhaps the better alternative, since they can
broad-band the PSAs over several stations during a typical day for
best coverage. For instance, placing the ads during local breaks on
the channels which carry Nick, TNT, TBS, and perhaps a couple of local
TV stations during the day; placing those same ads on CNBC, CNN, TNN,
and perhaps the Sci-Fi Channels during the evening hours in addition
to some of the commerical stations.
Better yet, is what several cable systems will allow you to do,
create your *own* Scouting "informercial" which would be shown on
their cable systems several times during a typical week or month.
This can include the National PSA package as your "commercials" during
the program and have a unique LOCAL flavor to it, as you can profile
local leaders, chartered partners, and even visitors to your Council
or District or community when possible. The cable systems need to be
able to support the local community in order to retain their
franchise; you need to be better-known out there.
Some of the best "informercials" can be found in many areas of the
nation...you can also request copies of the best local-Council
produced ads and programs from the National External Communications
Division to give you some ideas.
However, the BSA still says that the BEST way to get Scouts and
parents in your doors is to provide a varied, planned, publicized
program in your community. Those things can be done much cheaper than
a 30 second television ad, can promote YOUR unit and YOUR activities
and get them not just to join Scouting...but to join YOUR unit.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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