Behind The Scenes

Behind the “Skills” campaign

The video above documents what happens when Barry Sacks, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer, and Army Sgt. Richard McNamara swap television production roles for a day.

The advertising campaign’s goal is to spur recruitment by showing that the U.S. Army offers training in skills valued in the civilian world.

This webisode is one of 10 to be unveiled on various ESPN platforms in the “I’ve Got Skills” series. In each episode, a civilian meets his or her Army counterpart: An extreme sports athlete meets an Army Golden Knights skydiver, an NHL trainer meets an Army physical therapist, and so on.

What’s the story behind the advertising concept, which introduces a new webisode every Wednesday?

“The Army actually creates this content for us, and we use the power of ESPN and our multimedia platforms,” said David Holtzman, an ESPN Account Service Executive.

“We’re sort of the perfect fit, given the sports nature of the content and the scale that our assets can provide.”

Besides the page on the website, the “I’ve Got Skills” series airs on ESPN television and in ESPN Radio podcasts. ESPN The Magazine also helps promote the campaign.

In 2010, the U.S. Army and ESPN combined on a similar campaign. There were several webisodes of the military branch’s “Best Ranger” competition in Fort Benning, Ga. The Rangers series drew about 500,000 video views.

The “I’ve Got Skills” concept draws parallels to football, extreme sports, hockey and MMA, to name a few.

“There’s one coming up that talks about the parallels between a drill sergeant and a linebackers coach,” Holtzman said.

Digital Account Executive Rachel Theoharis and Holtzman have worked since June 2010 on the “I’ve Got Skills” series along with Lori Taylor, Junny Ann Hibbert, Denise Singer, Bill Russell, Lauren Bork, Karine Mehu and Trevor MacArthur.

What impressions did the Army job-sharing concept leave on Theoharis and Holtzman?

“There’s a lot more [to the Army] than just being on the frontlines,” said Theoharis, ESPN Account Executive, Online Sales. “”There’s a lot more careers, a lot more avenues. [This series] actually has made the Army a lot more appealing to me.

“I’m assuming and hoping that for the rest of ESPN’s audience, it has the same impact.”

Said Holtzman: “I echo Rachel. My takeaway out of this is that there are lots of career opportunities that the Army can generate.”

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