U.S. Navy Drops Anchor In Austin For X Games

Back for the 14th year, the U.S. Navy is docking again at the Summer X Games, which are in Austin this coming weekend. 

The Navy's presence there is part of its gold-level sponsorship of the games, and includes an integrated and co-branded program of TV, radio, print, digital and grassroots, including the presence of the Navy's special operations teams and its STEM Tour focusing on science, technology and math. 

The campaign, via Lowe Campbell Ewald, started with digital ads this past weekend, with TV breaking June 5. Print ads, which play on the idea of the Navy being the originator of extreme sports, start with the June 9 issue of "ESPN The Magazine."

The ads show SEALs leaping over Hawaii from planes, rappelling out of helicopters and parachuting with text like “We were ‘extreme’ long before it became a sport,” and "Big Air? We practically invented it."

Radio spots began running May 19. 

Jennifer Monaghan, managing director of the U.S. Navy team at Detroit-based Lowe Campbell Ewald, which has had the account since 2008, tells Marketing Daily that the onsite presence is the campaign keystone, as it brings in SEALS, rescue divers, technology operations and robotics, swift boat teams, air rescue divers, and the like to make the Navy seem just as potentially exhilarating as what’s going on at the games.  

The X Games, parenthetically, has also changed ports, which Monaghan says benefits the Navy's efforts around the event. It had been in Los Angeles in a more limited space, but with its move to Austin, the sports even has more geography to work with, and is in a setting more conducive to the Navy’s Leap Frogs, its Special Forces Commandos parachuting exhibition team, which will do airborne stunts there.     

The campaign, broadly speaking, is timed around the end of school when students are trying to figure out what to do next.

"So the X Games hits the sweet spot from a targeting standpoint. Kids are trying to make decisions," she says.
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