Boy Scouts rolls out first campaign to recruit girls

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Credit: Boy Scouts of America

The new marketing campaign from the Boy Scouts of America has an extra dose of inclusivity--with good reason. Membership at the 108-year-old group is on a downswing, and the organization is rolling out its "See You Out There" campaign to recruit members--both boys and girls. This is the first marketing push since the Boy Scouts announced late last year it would open its ranks to girls.

New materials sporting a "Scout Me In" tagline will run in print, including brochures, fliers and stickers. Digital video will roll out in mid-May on social channels and the Boy Scouts is spending on social media buys this fall for recruitment efforts. Boys and girls appear in the campaign, alongside language that refers to both as "scouts."

"We wanted to speak to girls as they're being welcomed in, but also to the boys out there—this is a campaign that covers both," says Stephen Medlicott, national marketing group director and a 25-year veteran of the organization, which is based in Irving, Texas.

The push—which carries a budget slightly higher than previous campaigns, Medlicott says—comes at a time when Boy Scout membership is in decline. In 2016, the most recent year available, the Boy Scouts had 2.3 million registered youth members and explorers, a 17 percent decrease from five years prior. In recent years, the organization has made similar admissions allowances to openly gay boys, gay leaders and transgender boys.

Medlicott says there are already about 3,500 girls participating in a soft launch of the new Cub Scouts program, which officially launches in June. The Boy Scouts currently count some 2.3 million youth participants, a spokeswoman says.

In addition, the Boy Scouts is introducing a new name for its inclusive program for older children ages 11 to 17: Scouts BSA.

The group worked with Johnson & Sekin, out of Dallas, Texas, on the creative campaign. The agency responded to an RFP late last year and began work in January.

"So many things are available these days, to have them be part of the same organization is something that helps families," says Chris Sekin, executive creative director and managing partner of Johnson & Sekin.

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