National Guard Reviews Five-Year, $477M Event Marketing, PR Contract

Includes Both Local and National Work for Army and Air Force Branches

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The National Guard Bureau (NGB) has developed a request for proposal for its event-marketing account. The total budget is up to $477 million over the course of five years, based on one-year renewal options, and it could award contracts to two or more agencies, according to a public filing.

The NGB put together the report this summer; the deadline to submit proposals is 2 p.m. EST on Nov. 4. The NGB did not immediately return a call for comment.

In the RFP, the NGB, which includes Army National Guard (ARNG) and Air National Guard (ANG) directorates, listed three tasks: public relations, sponsorships, promotions and tie-ins; ARNG mobile recruiting and retention programs; and video and DVD production and website development.

"The services shall support national marketing needs, localized ARNG and ANG marketing needs in the 54 states and territories, and the needs of the state public affairs offices," the document stated.

The tasks and scope, according to the 172-page RFP, will support its "Strength Maintenance Philosophy," which is "to recruit quality soldiers, conduct attrition management designed to reduce first-term soldier losses and training pipeline losses, and ensure retention and extension of quality soldiers before the expiration of their term-of -service."

Though the impetus for this review is likely related to the end of an existing contract, as it is with many government contracts, NGB will certainly be looking for a fresh and effective event and sponsorship strategy.

Earlier this summer, Col. Rob Porter, the U.S. National Guard's chief of its strength directorate, which houses education, recruiting and marketing, told Ad Age : "We're seeing a much greater return from our social-media side than we are from our event and sponsorship side."

The winning agency will work with NGB to reach its 17- to 24-year-old audience, focusing on partnerships with organizations such as Nascar, as well as to develop internet marketing campaigns that it likens to its Yahoo "Fantasy Career" event hosted by the Department of Defense. For promotional tie-ins, the NGB offers these examples: "Year of Diversity," "Year of the Employer," "Year of the Family" and "Reconnect With America." Mobile, the third major task listed, "may consist of , but not be limited to, tractor-trailer mobile exhibits, motor coach-RV-based mobile exhibits/recruiting support space, interactive outdoor displays, [and] large-scale mobile exhibits."

The organization currently works with advertising shop LM&O. It's understood that this review won't affect the agency's existing contract. RedPeg Marketing also lists NGB as a client on its website.

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