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Interactive Annual 16:
advertising

U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training

Launch Live Site

“This immersive site made the basic training experience very real; at the same time, it ‘sold’ the Air Force experience. The use of documentary-style footage and extensive detail about the program presented a compelling picture.” —Ingrid Bernstein

“Who knew that exploring the option of joining the military would feel like watching a great documentary? The site utilizes media in a refreshing but authentic manner: The week-by-week anecdotes, interviews, cinematography and bold navigation really draw people in and, interestingly, shed a more human light on the armed services.” —Hilary Read


Overview: This site tells the story of how the Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) is a transformative, energizing experience that gives trainees a sense of accomplishment like nothing else they’ve ever done. It presents the eight-and-a-half week course via a grid that shows this transformation while encouraging exploration and engagement. Visitors can quickly get a sense of what it entails, then get the story details each week through multiple videos and numerous photographs. The site delivers the closest thing to a basic training experience as possible without asking people to actually sign up.

  • • A Military Training Instructor explains in layman’s terms what each week consists of, and how hard it will be, and recruits give honest, unscripted advice to those thinking about joining.
  • • There is no media driving people to the site; the only way to find it is through a Web search or while exploring airforce.com. It’s the second most popular section of airforce.com; since launching in October 2009, it’s had over 475,000 page views—compared to 90,000 the previous month—and time spent on the site is up by more than a minute.

Comments by Stephen Land

Why is the story of Basic Military Training so important? “We try to tell a story with everything we do because story is what makes things engaging, sticky and effective. We could have easily slapped some videos together, thrown a timeline to it and called it a day, but the story of BMT is interesting and, more importantly, one that every single person considering joining the Air Force needs to know. Contrary to popular belief, Air Force BMT is challenging and requires recruits to push themselves beyond their limits; when recruits come in prepared for the challenge, they help themselves, their fellow trainees and the Air Force.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “We knew we wanted to use a lot of video to tell the transformative story of BMT; we also knew we didn’t want to bury the video behind a rigid user interface. The challenge was to bring as much of the video as possible up to the surface, make it intriguing and entice exploration. The design of the homepage did all of that while at the same time giving an immediate sense of what Air Force BMT is all about.”

Credits

Cheyenne Gallion, GSD&M Idea City, senior art director
Stephen Land, GSD&M Idea City, associate creative director
Tom Campion, GSD&M Idea City/Sean Keith, GSD&M Idea City/ Derek Dollahite, Coloring Book Studio/ Shun Smith, Coloring Book Studio, creative directors
Tom Gilmore, GSD&M Idea City/Rich Tlapek, GSD&M Idea City, group creative directors
Ariel Quintans, Action Figure, editor
Andrew Yates, Beef and Pie, director of photography
Mike Woolf, Beef and Pie, director
Tequila Mockingbird, music
Amy Hurt, GSD&M Idea City/Zoe McDowell, GSD&M Idea City, agency producers
Karen Yates, Beef and Pie, producer
Vincent Caldron, Coloring Book Studio, interactive producer
Megan Field, Action Figure, executive producer
Beef and Pie, production company
Coloring Book Studio/GSD&M Idea City, project design and development
GSD&M Idea City (Austin, TX), ad agency
U.S. Air Force, client


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