Project Supercar


The Situation
The US Air Force needs approximately 31,000 new recruits every year, but over 70% of all youth in the country are not qualified. On top of that, most youth don’t consider the Air Force because they “don’t want to be pilots.” Truth be told, only 4% of the Air Force is made up of pilots, with the vast majority of Airmen working in technical and mechanical careers.

We need to find recruits who are mechanically and technically inclined, who would enjoy working on multi-million dollar fighter jets, and we need to find them during a time of war.

The Goal
Find the right recruit, at the right time, for the right job by tapping into their passion for mechanics and technology.

Our Strategy
We know people with a passion for “car culture” have the mindset and skills we need. So rather than make ads, we became a part of the culture—creating an experience that literally demonstrates how a passion for cars, technology and mechanics can lead to a career in the US Air Force.

Project Supercar
We took seven highly-skilled Airmen with expertise ranging from electronics to metalwork and teamed them up with world renowned car customizers Galpin Auto Sports of MTV’s Pimp My Ride, led by Mad Mike, a former Airmen, to create two first-of-their-kind supercars that fused Air Force technology with American sports cars.

The Project Supercar Experience
The Supercars tour the country in customized trailers designed to emphasize the impact of receiving mechanical and technical training in the Air Force. Each trailer is outfitted with the latest technology and guides potential recruits through the story of Project Supercar. The interiors of each contains a 42” touch screen TV showing the 22-minute Project Supercar documentary and five touch-screen kiosks where visitors can explore Air Force careers.

To improve and track our recruitment metrics, each visitor is asked to register for the event. Each visitor receives a colored wrist band with an RFID chip embedded in it. The color of the wristband corresponds to the visitors propensity for joining the Air Force thus allowing recruiters to focus on the more interested individuals. The RFID chips in the bracelets are used by visitors to active the career kiosks and download digital rewards such as ringtones, wallpapers, and videos to their mobile phones and email.

Telling the story of Project Supercar
The story about the building of the Supercars is as much a part of our strategy as the cars are themselves. It allows us to speak with the target authentically and on their terms. Since traditional media was not central to this effort, we need the sharing of the story, whether onsite with the cars or at home via the website, to be part of the experience.

The creation of the cars was documented over several months with ten shooting days at Galpin Auto Sports in Los Angeles and a two days at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. The footage was used to create a video trailer for each car, a 22-minute documentary, and supplement a robust website that highlighted the Airmen involved in the project. The site also encourages visitors to learn about Air Force careers in mechanics and technology.

Reaction and Results
When someone sees an Air Force Supercar in person they are usually blown away and want to share the experience with friends. They post videos and pictures online and blog about the cars. To help people spread their enthusiasm we’ve created digital downloads, tool-box stickers, posters, DVDs of the documentary and more.

As for finding recruits:
Over 16,000 people have seen the cars live in 7 months.
Of those, 4,834 (30%) turned into qualified leads.
And our lead conversion rate is up 1,266% versus all other Air Force events.

Project Supercar has been featured in DUB magazine, Wired, Motor Trend magazine, The Age (Australia), Jalopnik, and the Sun (UK), among others.

2010 Austin ADDYs Gold
2010 District 10 ADDYs Gold
2010 ExAward: Best Use Of Technology
Featured in Event Marketer’s The 100 Best Event Case Studies