MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Today's Navy is where it matters, when it matters and Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) continues to support that mission by finding new and innovative ways to engage with the public to raise awareness about the Navy and the jobs available to those men and women who qualify.
With a heavy focus on STEM, medical, nuclear power and a host of other career fields, an effort is being made by NRC to target the cryptology rating. Navy Recruiting Command, in partnership with its advertising agency, Lowe Campbell-Ewald (LCE), recently launched Project Architeuthis, on Facebook. The new social media initiative, Project Architeuthis, targets the Cryptology Technician (CT) community and provides viewers an opportunity to "solve the puzzles, save your shipmates."
The online cryptology game began this week and will run 18 days with puzzles each day for followers to solve.
"The plot of Project Architeuthis challenges intelligent, problem-solving individuals," said NRC's marketing and plans division member Sean Forbes. "The goal is to track down a mysterious enemy who has captured the chief architect of a top-secret weapon in order to build their own."
Forbes, along with a team of creative representatives from LCE developed the new online-social interaction game and is one of the first to be used specifically for raising awareness and interest in a particular Navy program.
"I believe this is the first Alternate Reality Game that has been launched socially for any recruiting branch," said Forbes. "While it's not a direct recruiting tool, the goal is to generate awareness and educate the public about career opportunities within the Navy, especially within the Information Dominance Corps."
The challenge involves fictitious characters and social media profiles. The characters will interact with the Project Architeuthis Facebook page through posts to add layers to the story and provide clues when participants are stuck on a puzzle.
Because the job itself is cloaked in secrecy, information about the CT rate can be hard for the general public to find.
"If you conduct and internet search on Navy intelligence you won't find anything about cryptology but rather about our intelligence specialist," said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interperative) Steven Barbee, NRC enlisted information dominance corps branch lead. "Many recruiters do not know anything themselves about the CT ratings or the jobs associated with these ratings."
Barbee explained that although the type of work may appear to be like a James Bond movie, he added, "nope, we are Sailors just like all of our shipmates; no laser watches or shoe guns or cool cars are issued to us!"
Navy Cryptologists are charged with analyzing encrypted communications, deciphering foreign languages, jamming the radars of enemies, and maintaining the equipment and networks necessary for top-secret intel.
Stand-alone puzzles for this audience have been used before by NRC but the results weren't what was expected.
"Previously, we've posted puzzles, riddles and challenges to the U.S. Navy Cryptography & Technology Facebook page and users were able to solve them in about five minutes," said Forbes. "So we learned we really needed to step our game."
With this project NRC found a well-suited market and will be able to provide a very targeted message to the individuals who play the game.
"The internet is home to whole communities of people who enjoy complicated, story-based puzzle solving as a recreational past time," Forbes said. "Among them exists the kind of minds Navy Cryptology is looking to attract."
This challenge looks beyond just collecting information on new potential applicants, often called leads, however, and serves to instead help build potential lasting relationships with the general public.
"In the social space, not everything we do has a direct lead correlation," said Forbes. "We are creating awareness of the Navy by driving traffic to our social properties and if we can give our users a challenging and fun puzzle experience, we hope they'll walk away with a favorable image of the Navy."
And the challenge relies heavily on social media and expanding the audiences of various recruiting presence on social media.
According to Navy Recruiting Command's Marketing and Advertising Director, Cmdr. Brent Phillips, the challenge provided an opportunity to use individuals' existing interest to lead people to recruiting messages. Instead of pushing out information and hoping someone in the audience listens, the challenge is designed in a way that those who are already interested in the concepts presented will actively seek out more information as part of the challenge.
"We're always looking for creative ways to engage with young men and women, especially those who may be interested in the exciting work we do around the world," said Phillips. "Using people's natural curiosity to solve problems provided an interesting avenue to share a little bit about the dedication our Sailors have as part of America's Navy."
To see if you have what it takes to "solve the puzzles, save your shipmates", visit the Project Architeuthis Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/projectarchiteuthis .
For more information about the CT community, visit the U.S. Navy Cryptology and technology page at https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/navycryptologyandtechnology
To see how you can become a recruiter and help recruit the future of the fleet, visit www.cnrc.navy.mil .
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrc/.