After serving in two wars during separate stints with the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard, Justen Wiggins wound up living in a group home with no job and PTSD.
Wiggins was homeless, just like 50,000 veterans across the United States.
“I needed help,” the 20-year veteran told us. “I was at a real desperate point in my life.”
Luckily, a friend directed him toward Supportive Services for Veteran Families, a program run by Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO). While the program has assisted more than 300 vets and family members since 2014, many still didn’t know it existed. So CAPSLO enlisted BCA’s support to help build awareness.
The result was “It’s Our Turn,” a multi-faceted campaign that not only shed a positive light on CAPSLO’s work but also created awareness for vets in need. The campaign included a robust social media effort; a series of compelling videos and radio spots; print and digital ads and bus cards.
Associate account manager Katie Ferber and content developer Pat Pemberton came up with the concept, including the “It’s Our Turn” tagline. Katie and Pat interviewed the three subjects, then created video and radio spots based on those interviews. Photos of each subject were also taken, which graphic designer Lauren Finley used to create ads for local media. Finley also created the banner ads that were displayed on city buses, like the one at the top.
The campaign focused on three people: Wiggins, Army veteran Mike Davis and Sean Houle, a property manager at Rancho Gardens senior living center in Santa Maria.
In his video, Wiggins (whose clarinet also provides the soundtrack) described how CAPSLO was like a family to him as they helped him find an apartment in Morro Bay. Davis said the program found him a home in a week and a half – a pretty remarkable turnaround — at the historic Wineman Hotel in San Luis Obispo. And Houle described how his employer has partnered with CAPSLO to provide housing for seven once-homeless vets.
The average person likely would not have known what the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program did before “It’s Our Turn.” But the campaign made clear that this program helps vets in crisis, using real faces and stories to highlight its successes.