Vermont makes Hummer a hit
By Staff Sgt. Jonathan E. Agee
| | February 24, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUITING STATION BARRE, Vt. --
Recruiting Substation Barre took an average Marine Corps Humvee appearance to new levels Feb. 24 by using a local radio station to amplify the awareness.
Normally, a Hummer appearance draws big crowds no matter where it goes. It has a $20,000 stereo system, plasma screen television and comes complete with a Play Station II mounted in the trunk. The exterior boasts an amazing visual display of Marine Corps graphics and emblems. At a total vehicle price of about $160,000, who wouldn't want to take a look at a ride that costs more than most people's homes?
As great an eye-catcher as the vehicle is, many people who are unaware of the visit often miss its appearance.
Staff Sgt. Mark Archambeau, RSS Barre noncommissioned officer-in-charge, was not going to allow this golden opportunity pass him by.
Archambeau, who has been criticized in the past by fellow Marines for spending too much time with the media, called the number one radio station in his area and arranged to conduct a broadcast with the morning show.
The response from the 107.1 WORK FM morning show host was overwhelming. Not only did he want to help the Marines of RSS Barre the day of the event, he was willing to give a full day of advertisements for the event the day prior.
TJ Michaels, WORK-FM morning show host, admits that something like this would normally cost a small fortune, but because of his relationship with the local Marines he wanted to do it for free.
"The area in which we service is not always military friendly and the country has a lot of needs and we want to help out in any way we can," said TJ. "I think there are a lot of options (in the armed services) for high school students and young men and women in our country right now ... I always sit back and see the recruiters out and talking to the kids and wonder what would have happened if I had signed up."
Throughout the morning drive, TJ spoke about the Hummer in a way that sparked curiosity from nearly everyone listening. "We heard it on the radio and my son wanted to see the Hummer; he thought it sounded pretty neat," said Elizabeth Mott, spectator at the morning event.
The radio host stayed with the Hummer throughout the morning. When TJ departed, the afternoon DJ continued to announce the Hummer's schedule and told listeners where they could see the Humvee next.
"My work relationship with the radio station started back in September when we were trying to find people to take advantage of the Educator Workshop," said Archambeau. "They did live feeds from Parris Island to the Wake Up Crew, where the whole radio station made a big deal about Erica (TJ's morning show associate) going to Parris Island. Will she make it? Can she make it? They gave live updates, and it really generated a ton of interest.
"You have to be committed, you have to work it and you cannot think that one event is going to turn it. You have to stay active with your media. If you take care of them they will take care of you. They have a live link on their web page to Marines.com. Why? Because of the working relationship that we have created between each other."
From the RSS, the Hummer went to Spalding High School. At the school the response to the Hummer visit was astounding. Nearly everyone in the school paid a visit to the Humvee, and many stayed to play football on the Play Station II.
"They like the size. Everyone wishes they had a Hummer and they love the bass and Play Station in the back; especially when you have Madden 2004 back there," said Sgt. Ryan Deane, 1st Marine Corps District event marketing vehicle noncommissioned officer. "Not everybody has one or has seen one and they hear about it so much they just want a piece of that action."
After the school visit, the Hummer returned to the RSS where visitors began lining up to take part in the pull-up challenge and get another look at the Humvee. The radio station amplified the effects by announcing the pull-up challenge over the air.
By the end of the day, Archambeau was able to take an average EMV visit and turn it into an event that echoed throughout the community. Getting a radio station on board for two days full of broadcast in such a short amount of time just goes to show what a great relationship with the media can do.