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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

The Army - Salute to Summer

Finalist in Government & Politics, Creative Use of Technology

Entered in Multi-Platform Partnership


Our mission was clear: Redefine perceptions of and possibilities in The U.S. Army to inspire the next generation of leaders to be all you can be. In response to perception challenges amongst Gen Z, primarily the military’s scripted portrayal in movies and video games, The U.S. Army partnered with NBCUniversal to show up in unexpected ways and resonate with the target through a custom-created cultural tentpole. 

The "Salute to Summer" campaign utilized a multi-faceted approach, including partnering with superstar Nick Jonas as the campaign headliner.  Strategically leveraging Jonas' impending tour and the social media success of tracks like “Waffle House”, The U.S. Army tapped into Gen-Z's core interests where music, entertainment, and technology converge to bring the message of “Be All You Can Be” to life in places the audience lives, works and plays.

Strategy and Execution

The campaign launched with an immersive experience at Universal Studios Hollywood, that coincided with the parks annual Grad Bash event. Each aspect of the event was structured in a way for attendees to engage on social; sharing photos as they conquered the American Ninja Warrior course, interacted with games and photo installations, as well as having one-on-one conversations with Soldiers who provided QR codes for people to learn more. To top it off, we leaned into Gen Z’s love of NFTs, developing custom Army artwork and prizes that could be unlocked with the scan of a QR code. Parkgoers had fun - all while shifting Gen Z’s preconceived notions through a first-person experience of The U.S. Army’s unlimited possibilities.  

The weekend culminated in a taping of a Peacock streaming special designed specifically for Gen-Z.  Hosted by E! News’ The Rundown’s Snapstar Erin Lim Rhodes, the 30-minute special featured performances from Nick Jonas alongside U.S.

Army Soldiers and from former talent from NBCUniversal’s The Voice & America’s Got Talent, all supporting the message to "Be All You Can Be."   

With viewing behavior moving more-and-more to platform loyalty, the streaming special alone wasn’t enough.  A QR code was integrated into the special and strategically promoted across social media, contextually bringing the right message to the right audience at precisely the right time on their platform of choice - mobile.  Viewers who scanned the code were transported to a personalized, first-of-its kind mixed reality performance by Nick Jonas in augmented reality, a truly unexpected moment made possible by The U.S. Army.  What set this experience apart was its interactivity; fans could personalize the content, engage with the performance, and even answer questions about their own aspirations and passions.

Promoted across NBCU and talent handles, including Jonas' massive following, the campaign reached millions on social media platforms that kicked-off the groundswell of awareness and ultimate success.

The U.S. Army’s Salute to Summer was not just a tentpole event; it was a transformative cultural-journey that exemplifies innovation, impact, and collaboration across social and digital channels that shifted perceptions-of and possibilities-in The U.S. Army to inspire the next generation of leaders to Be All You Can Be. 


Crucially, the holistic campaign, including Salute to Summer shifted perception amongst our key audience, Gen Z, with a 27% lift in brand favorability and a 22% lift in intent to enlist by dispelling misconceptions and igniting enthusiasm for joining the ranks. 

We changed perceptions and saw that not only in brand metrics but improved media metrics, as well.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

OMD U.S., The Army


Entry Credits