The question of how to attract Gen Z is a challenge faced by all companies and organizations including the military. The digital age has changed the way the military operates, from administrative to operational, making the recruitment of digital age Gen Z talent more critical than ever before. In answer to the challenge, Y&R, The U.S. Navy and Northeastern University came together to kick off Idea Hack: America’s Navy, a 48-hour idea hackathon developed by Y&R’s Z Academy apprenticeship program.
Aimed at increasing naval recruitment and relevance among young people, particularly those from minority communities, the event brought together interdisciplinary experts, Naval officers, professors and students to help reposition the Navy to a new generation of Gen Z and Millennial age recruits. Calling on Gen Z to reach the audience it knows best – itself – students worked hand-in-hand with Naval officers, professors, and global marketing professionals to develop innovative, engaging ways to communicate these stories.
At the end of the weekend, teams delivered a 10-minute, fully-formed pitch presentation illustrating an innovative digital campaign, a social media campaign, an offline, live-interaction product, or an exhibit that helps bring to life stories from the Navy’s past, present and future.
With Y&R Global CEO David Sable as a judge alongside Navy Commander Kevin Shilling, Megan Lee, Sr. Copywriter on the Navy Partnership and Jonathan Kaufman, Director of School of Journalism at Northeastern University here are the winners:
1st Place went to Team Navy People. Their idea focused on the Navy’s commitment to innovation, protecting humanity and areas of the Navy which non-traditional enlistees might be interested in. Team Navy People wants to create public installations of every day Navy objects that act as a key to unlocking the stories told by real Navy people, which are then told in 360 degree, immersive formats.
2nd Place went to Team Navilian. Their idea was to reintroduce the U.S. Navy to civilians through the #seeyourself campaign, which focuses on debunking stereotypes, emphasizing grey areas and generating awareness about everyday life in the Navy.
3rd Place went to team Pirate Ninja, whose aim is to make the process of applying to the U.S. Navy easy and tailored to the candidate.
Congratulations to all winners and participants.