Veterans Affairs woos youth through social media
$3.5M campaign offers 'cool prizes'
The Department of Veterans Affairs is turning to social media and broadcasters like MuchMusic to get more young people engaged in Remembrance Day.
There's a Twitter account, apps for your mobile phone and an online quiz. This year, the department is also offering prizes, including a laptop computer, to get kids involved.
For the past four years, the federal government has teamed with MuchMusic on a social media campaign to reach a younger demographic for Remembrance Day on Sunday. The Twitter account has 3,300 followers, and the Facebook page has more than 600,000 likes.
"Each year, we've built," said Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Sheri Ostridge.
"We look at online habits, we look at where the kids are going. So research has told us they really like interactive; they're interested when we have incentives."
One thing driving traffic to the website this year is a card sent home with some Canadian schoolchildren. It shows an iPhone with a field of poppies and the words "Win cool prizes." After scanning a code with their digital device, kids are invited to tweet about Remembrance Day for a chance to win a laptop.
Some young people in Charlottetown said the prize gets their attention, but they wonder if it's appropriate.
"It's not really about win," said one teenager.
"It's kind of like a loss. Remembrance Day is about losses,"
Veterans Affairs says it's reaching kids it would have missed otherwise, kids who are learning about the contributions of Canada's veterans.
This year's promotional campaign, including reaching out to young people, will cost $3.5 million.
For mobile device users: Is the Veterans Affairs giveaway campaign to engage young people in Remembrance Day a good one?