Boy Scouts of America Hispanic Marketing
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Boy Scouts of America Hispanic Marketing

Bromley/MS&L was charged with designing a synchronized public relations, advertising and promotions program to boost awareness of Scouting and the values of Scouting among Hispanic youth, parents and community leaders.

Paul Holmes

Scouting is an outlet for boys and young men to benefit from a lifetime set of values, character and leadership. In previous years, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) had difficulty in reaching Hispanic youth. A look at the issues facing Latinos today demonstrated that there was an urgent need to address the problems and challenges that face this growing population. By 2010, the Hispanic population between the ages 6-18 will increase more than a third of its current size. Due to their growing numbers, Latino youth are no longer a minority group in some areas of the country.
Therefore, Bromley/MS&L was charged with designing a synchronized public relations, advertising and promotions program to boost awareness of Scouting and the values of Scouting among Hispanic youth, parents and community leaders.
  • Bromley Communications conducted a consumer research survey of troop visits and focus groups that proved the values of Scouting are aligned with the values of Hispanics; yet, Scouting among Hispanic youth under indexed non-Hispanics due to the lack of information and existing misperceptions about Boy Scouts among this demographic.
  • Strategy Research Corporation cited the teen population ages 2-17 comprised 31% of the total population in Laredo and 34% in McAllen/Brownsville, providing Boy Scouts the opportunity to implement an awareness program in high-density small markets that would be easily evaluated.
  • Laredo (97% Hispanic) and the Rio Grande Valley area (McAllen/90% Hispanic) were major point-of-entry border towns, making them important markets for Boy Scouts to implement and establish a long-term outreach educational campaign while working with active councils in these areas.
  • Strategy Research Corporation also stated that U.S. Hispanics, on average, spend about 3 hours and 10 minutes listening to radio, which is why radio was selected as a priority medium to convey BSA messaging.
  • A 1998 Simmons Teen Research Study found that among Hispanic teens, 70% valued relationships with family and 60% spoke Spanish regularly at home, which provided BSA the opportunity to align itself with Hispanic family values.
  • A June 2000 Galloway Research Service pre-test was conducted in the selected markets to determine what exactly the awareness and knowledge level about Scouting was in those communities. Results showed only 9.2% of Hispanic parents (401 respondents/unaided) surveyed were aware of Boy Scouts, demonstrating South Texas Hispanics had a limited knowledge of what Boy Scouts had to offer in their community.
Measurable Objectives:
  • Create awareness of Scouting’s values by showcasing their similarity to Hispanic values
  • Increase membership numbers among Hispanic boys and promote adult involvement in Scouting
Target Audiences:
  • Hispanic boys ages 6-18 and their parents
  • Hispanic adult volunteers, including local influencers, parishioners, educators and BSA council members
  • Spanish and English-language broadcast and print media on both sides of the border
  • Geographic focus:  McAllen, Eagle Pass, Del Rio and Laredo
Focus on Key Hispanic Characteristics:
In order to establish a lasting identity for Scouting among Hispanics, the agency focused on key cultural Hispanic characteristics as demonstrated through market research, such as Hispanics’ preference for Spanish, close family ties, respect for elders and strong religious identity.
  • Coordinated broadcast promotions to saturate target area with well-crafted key messaging elements during three-month peak enrollment period.
  • Developed a six-month media relations plan to increase awareness through stories relevant to the Hispanic audience.
  • Preparation:
  • Met with local BSA council staff members, volunteers and community leaders to rally support for the campaign in their respective communities
  • Negotiated a three-month media buy package in four target markets for radio and TV PSA’s and commercials to saturate target area using Hispanic-preferred media
  • Spearheaded BSA’s participation at the 2000 National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) convention in Houston to survey Hispanic media professionals, identify BSA-friendly media and secure a listing of Hispanic journalists who were Scouting “hometown heroes”
  • Conducted extensive interviews with local community leaders to prepare news materials and to gain insights for feature stories and activities to highlight throughout campaign
  • Launched campaign in July 2000 by introducing theme: “¡Scouting! Vale la pena” (“Scouting! It’s worth the effort”)
  • Produced a series of monthly PSA’s to reinforce the alignment of values between Hispanics and Scouting
  • Developed BSA trivia one-liners for on-air promotions to encourage community involvement or chatter
  • Developed and distributed news releases that targeted and reinforced the grassroots efforts of BSA’s Hispanic initiative
  • Involved highly influential church members to encourage parish and parent involvement within the Hispanic community
  • Sought out and showcased highly influential community members in each target area via media outreach
  • Drafted a letter to school superintendents to encourage staff involvement in Scouting through mentoring and volunteering
  • Developed creative concepts, script and coordinated radio/TV production and scheduling of PSA's and commercials
  • Coordinated radio remotes for grass roots activities that coincided and reinforced messaging for monthly campaigns
  • Assisted in the development of special events to highlight Boy Scouts of America in the South Texas community
1) At campaign start, the political climate for Boy Scouts of America was unstable due to the pending Supreme Court decision in the Dale vs. Boy Scouts of America case. In June, the Supreme Court upheld BSA’s right as a private organization to define its membership standards. This high-profile decision continued to be fought in the court of public opinion and in the media throughout the campaign.  This situation made it increasingly difficult to position the Hispanic initiative as a diversity effort. The agency continuously pitched positive stories to divert attention by highlighting character building, leadership skills and family values as well as showcasing the long-term benefits of Scouting among Hispanic boys.
2) Since Boy Scouts is not a tradition among Hispanics, the South Texas market suffered from a lack of interest and a shortage of adult volunteers.  For the most part, South Texas is an economically disadvantaged area that perceives Scouting as “for the rich.”   Bromley/MS&L was set with the task to find relevant stories among Hispanic leaders and influencers to create a bond between Boy Scouts and the Hispanic community that demonstrated ease of accessibility.
3) Local area councils were understaffed, which made recruitment and seeking volunteers a concern.  The agency provided assistance to all local councils through constant counseling on implementing in-market activities that were relevant to the community and that synergized media relations themes throughout the program.
Objective:  Create awareness of Scouting’s values by showcasing their similarity to Hispanic values
  • A total of 109 articles appeared in 52 English and Spanish publications in and around South Texas target area
  • In only 4 months, confirmed print placements in surrounding and targeted areas reached more than 8 million impressions, compared to the total population of 1,035,321
  • 14 radio and 21 TV stations confirmed rotation of Spanish/English PSA’s
  • “Boy Scouts of America” is mentioned an average of 6.4 times per print article
  • 68% of total print placements featured Scouting-related photo (photos provided by agency)
  • 185% of placements cited an official quote from Boy Scouts of America (allowing multiple source quotes per placement)
  • 187% of placements included teen or pre-teen influencer mentions (allowing multiple mentions per placement)
  • Family “morals” or “values” were stressed in 90% of articles and mentioned on average of 3.38 times per article
  • An October 2000 Galloway Research Service pre and post survey finds significantly more parents believe “Scouts learn good morals and values” (79.3% versus 87.8%)
  • 67% of placements compared Hispanic values to the values of Scouting; 92% of placements invited parents and non-parents to participate in Scouting
  • According to Galloway Research, of all those who have seen advertising for youth organizations, only Boy Scouts of America shows a significant increase (12.0% versus 28.1%) in the message that they are “recruiting kids to join”
  • Galloway Research survey states a 104.3% increase in unaided awareness three months into the program; a 49.7% increase is demonstrated among respondents ‘top of mind’ awareness of Boy Scouts
  • 150,000 ‘Get out the vote’ door hangers will be distributed early November for the annual Scouting for Food drive
  • The Tejano group, Delirio, was secured pro bono as spokespersons (all were former Boy Scouts) to represent Boy Scouts among teens at upcoming media and concert tours, radio remotes, and in PSA’s in all four markets
  • Added value (ad equivalent minus budget, including bonus spots): $217,177
Objective:  Increase membership numbers among Hispanic boys and promote adult involvement in Scouting
  • Rio Grande Council (McAllen) cited 136 new units with 2,643 new youth recruited within 2½  months of campaign start
  • Concho Valley Council (Del Rio/Eagle Pass) reported 6 new Cub Scout packs with 113 youth and 38 adult leaders; 1 new Exploring post with 17 youth and 5 leaders; 1 new Venturing crew with 5 youth and 5 leaders; “Fundraising has dramatically increased as a result of the program, ” says Michael R. Adam, Concho Valley Council
  • Gulf Coast Council reported a 4% membership increase in Aztec District (Laredo); 2 new Cub Scout dens and 1 new Boy Scout troop recruited in Mesquite District (Falfurrias); 2 new troops to be organized in the Gulf Breeze District (Corpus Christi); “we have more new unit projects going on than I can recall in many years in Corpus Christi,” says John O. Thurston, Gulf Coast Council Scout Executive
  • Boy Scouts of America South Texas pilot project was completed December 31, 2000 and post-research will be evaluated January 2001
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