Boy Scouts Campaign

The television ad that I choose is from the Boy Scouts of America. According to the “Persuasive Campaigns” reading, this ad is an example of an indoctrination campaign. The reading says that groups, such as the Cub Scouts, “have a role in indoctrinating- or some might say “socializing” or “acculturating”- children and “re-socializing” those previously indoctrinated”. The ad that I chose does have a strong sense of socialization, and relies heavily on desirable values that parents would want to instill in their children. Although the Cub Scouts are comprised of young boys, this ad is more aimed towards parents than children.

In the beginning of the ad, there are two boys playing a video game while words such as kind, helpful, clean, reverent, and obedient quickly flash across the screen. Then the mom asks her son to take out the trash, whereupon the Boy Scout pauses the video game in order to take out the trash. The narrator then says “Scouting, helping fulfill your dreams for him”. Then the same situation happens, only this time, both boys are taking out the trash, and both are wearing the standard Boy Scout outfit.

            Since the Boy Scouts have been a long established group, I would place this ad in the Activation stage. This stage includes a detailed action plan, which the reading says will include “appropriate lines of authority, a detailed task description for each individual, and the relation of the operational group to other community groups and institutions”. As most people know, Boy Scouts are required to complete specific tasks, such as learning outdoor survival skills, in order to get badges. The Boy Scouts are well known in communities, and usually help out other institutions through community service projects. Another aspect of the activation stage is preliminary commitments, which states that “the attitude of the individual should be strengthened by the act of overt commitment”. Usually, Boy Scouts become more committed to the values and beliefs of the group the longer they are a member. The next part of the campaign is follow through, which this ad is an example of. Although the group is established, they are still seeking out more members and continuing to promote the group. The last part of the activation stage is penetration, in which “those reached directly become persuaders themselves”. It is common for kids to want to join a group that their friends are a part of, and Boy Scouts are perceived in a positive light. The ad that I chose also demonstrates that the Boy Scout convinces his friend’s mom to make her son a Boy Scout as well.

As I have said before, this ad is more aimed towards parents than children. Many times, kids may be reluctant to join a group that is structured and pushes them to do things out of their comfort zone. As the ad says “Scouting, helping fulfill your dreams for him”, the ad is more concerned with the dreams of the parents, rather than the child. Parents are usually the ones to push their kids to join groups, because they want their kids to become respectable citizens. I think that this ad would be received fairly well by parents, because what parent wouldn’t want their kid to earnestly take out the trash? But also, this ad conveys that a child will learn values such as responsibility if they become a Boy Scout. One thing that could maybe improve this ad would be a short example of an activity the Boy Scouts might do, so parents would know that their child would be doing if they became a Boy Scout. Also, the ad should have included where to find more information on the Boy Scout program, such as a website.             

                                                                   -Carly Thompson

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