FY 1996, public affairs efforts at Selective Service
were geared toward reaching the right audiences with
accurate and effective information. In addition to routine
interaction with the public and the media to answer
questions and provide historical facts and records,
the Agency staff published The Register, a bimonthly
newsletter for all employees, including assigned Guard
and Reserve members, and thousands of Agency volunteers.
A comprehensive and multi-faceted National Awareness
Campaign was also conducted, using a variety of media
to inform young men throughout America about their statutory
obligation to register at age 18.
men in the inner cities received special attention in
FY 1996. In places where school drop out rates are high,
compliance with the registration requirement is usually
below average. To ensure that these young men obey the
law and do not lose eligibility for Federal jobs and
job training by neglecting to register with Selective
Service, the SSS staff worked with minority contractors
to develop and distribute informational materials designed
to reach African-American and Hispanic men and those
who influence them.
African-American campaign using the slogan, "A
Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do," was developed
by a Beachwood, Ohio, public relations firm, and tested
successfully in two cities, Cleveland, Ohio, and Washington,
D.C., in February 1996. In this campaign, posters, brochures,
registration cards, and radio public service announcements
(PSAs) were distributed to inner city social and cultural
institutions that have routine contact with young African-American
men. The test marketing allowed some fine tuning of
the campaign and it was expanded to include ten major
cities in September.
hundred public information kits were produced and about
900 were mailed directly to social service agencies
in ten major cities. About 600 additional kits were
distributed to the three SSS Region Headquarters for
neighborhood placement by assigned Reserve officers.
Hispanic campaign using the slogan, "Hazlo Por
Ti!" ("Do It For You!") was developed
with a Hispanic firm and tested with Hispanic audiences
in February and March. Similar to the African-American
effort, the campaign consisted of a community information
kit containing posters, brochures, registration cards,
and radio PSAs, but these were produced with Hispanic
themes in Spanish and English. At the close of FY 1996,
this campaign was also expanding. Additional public
awareness kits were printed, and mailings planned for
ten major cities to reach Hispanic agencies that work
with young men. Of 2,000 kits printed, 1,400 will be
distributed by direct mail in the first quarter, FY
1997. The balance will be sent to the three SSS Region
Headquarters for placement.
Radio PSAs Produced
radio has the ability to reach 18-year-old males and
their parents, a radio campaign called "Red Hot
Spots" was recorded, edited and transferred to
compact disk (CD) format for release during winter 1996.
It consists of 24 registration reminder PSAs recorded
throughout FY 1996 with Hispanic and country and western
music stars. The country celebrities who donated their
time and voices to the effort included Wade Hayes, John
Berry, Mark Wills, Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge
Boys, Ricky Skaggs, and the performing groups named
Perfect Stranger, Lonestar, and 4-Runner. Hispanic celebrities
included Jimmy Smits from the hit TV series, "NYPD
Blue," actors Ricardo Montalban, Jennifer Lopez,
and comedian Paul Rodriguez. Spots scripted to remind
Hispanic parents that their sons must register were
recorded in Spanish.
Agency's "Institutional Briefing," a multi-media
presentation used at National Headquarters to brief
visiting officials and groups, was updated. The presentation
focuses on the Agency's role in National Defense and
describes the mechanics of the registration program.
It reviews missions and organization, defines the role
of board members, and explains how a future draft would
operate. Once updated, the briefing was transferred
to videotape for use in regional and local public information
programs by board members and assigned Reserve officers.
speech kit (script and illustrative slides) was produced
in 1994. Entitled, "To Provide for the Common Defense,"
it proved practical and popular when used by SSS personnel
at schools, before veterans groups, and at meetings
of service organizations, such as Kiwanis and Rotary
Clubs. The Agency recalled the 300 kits from the field
so they could be updated in FY 1996. The kits were redistributed
in June. The update avoided the additional expense of
producing a totally new kit.
28-page booklet was produced in FY 1996, entitled "America's
Hedge Against the Unknown: The Selective Service System,
A Primer." This companion item to the institutional
briefing and the speech kit was produced at minimum
cost using in-house desktop publishing capabilities
prepared during FY 1996 was the first draft of a scholarly,
book-length manuscript about the history of the Selective
Service System. The writing was accomplished part-time
by Lt. Col. John C. Anderson, and completed before his
recent retirement from the Army Reserve. Anderson's
last Reserve assignment was with Selective Service as
the part-time Agency Historian. He based his work on
extensive research and official records. The work will
be edited and should be ready for printing in spring
America's 35 Millionth Registrant
Lewis, Jr., of Rankin, Texas, the 35 millionth man to
register since the requirement was reinstated by the
President in 1980, agreed to help remind others about
the registration requirement. In September, he and some
of his high school friends posed for photos that will
be featured in upcoming registration awareness campaigns.
photographs will first be used for a theater slide registration
reminder campaign during the 1996 Thanksgiving and Christmas
holidays. The images will also appear on high school
posters to be distributed in the fall, 1997.
Information In Exciting Ways
FY 1996, SSS went "on-line" with a Worldwide
Web site at http://www.sss.gov. The new home page was
designed completely "in house" and can be
reached by anyone with Internet access. There are even
hypertext links to it from many Internet Search Engines
and other home pages, including those of the Department
of Defense and the National Interreligious Service Board
for Conscientious Objectors.
SSS home page provides detailed information to its visitors
in many categories, including basic facts about the
Agency, registration, frequently asked questions, what
the Agency provides for America, what happens if there
is a draft, and historical induction statistics. Weekly
"hits" (the number of visitors contacting
the site) have increased steadily since it was initiated
in March 1996.
new techniques in computer imaging, the best photo of
Jerry Lewis, Jr., and his friends was blown up larger
than life-size to form the prominent image on several
new SSS exhibits created at the end of FY 1996. These
will be used at career days, fairs, shopping malls,
public buildings, and other high traffic locations.
The exhibits are collapsible and one-person portable,
enabling frequent and easy use. Each Region Headquarters
will receive two full-size and one tabletop exhibit.
Two exhibits will be retained at National Headquarters
for use throughout the metropolitan Washington area.
reach general audiences with registration reminder messages,
the Agency again produced a three-part national awareness
campaign in FY 1996.
TV spot in 30-, 15-, and 10-second lengths called "Boys
From Men," uses humor to remind men that registration
is a rite of passage. Posing the question, "What
separates the boys from the men?" it compares boy
things to man things: clothes, eating habits, toys and
the like; finally ending with the observation that men,
not boys, register with Selective Service. The narration
concludes, "Hey, it's what a man's gotta do."
one thousand TV tapes were mailed to cable outlets,
broadcasters and networks throughout the country on
March 1, 1996. SSS used electronic tracking methods
to verify play of the spot by stations in free, public
service time. From more than 100 surveyed, "Boys
from Men" proved to be the 10th most popular national
public service announcement airing during the month
of April 1996. In the first 90 days after release, it
aired in 24 of the top 25 national TV markets, and garnered
free air time valued at nearly $1.3 million.
compact disk (CD) containing radio public service announcements
aimed at general audiences was distributed in February
1996. Over 7,000 stations received the disk, which was
packaged with the headline, "Play It Again, Sam."
It featured 30- and 60-second registration reminder
electronic monitoring of radio spots is cost prohibitive,
business reply cards were enclosed in the CD mailers
and the returned cards were used to measure station
usage. During the first 120 days of play, the spots
aired in 12 of the top 20 markets on 53 stations. By
far, "country" and "adult contemporary"
stations used it most. The spots were less likely to
be used by religious, nostalgia/oldies, and diversified
stations. The average number of broadcasts per using
stations was over 60. Equivalent paid advertising dollar
value of the free airings on radio was more than $700
information and awareness kit for high schools, along
with a re-designed "Teacher's Guide," was
produced during the fiscal year for fall 1996 distribution.
Each of the 24,000 kits contained two posters of differing
sizes, a script for the public address system, a frequently
asked questions sheet, and a business reply card to
obtain school feedback and requests for copies of the
Selective Service System "Teacher's Guide."
The kits were sent to directors of guidance or, in schools
participating in the SSS High School Registrar Program,
to those faculty members serving as registrars.