So. A friend of mine sent me the following link with the Boy Scouts advertising announcement.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ….

Well. Here’s the deal. And I admit. I may not be the best person to be providing a point of view here because I care about the Boy Scouts (therefore I may be biased toward being critical). But. I have a couple of problems … oops .. issues with this effort.

1.    No one cares if you (or your company) are 100 years old if that is all you say. If you are waiting to let people arrive at their own conclusion (and you are hoping against hope that they believe it means “hey, I am reliable and you can count on me”), you are screwed. Because most people will suggest 100 years old means you are  … well … old … and not relevant. (hmmmmmmmmm … I believe that would be the existing issue the Boy Scouts are dealing with so maybe the intent of this advertising is to support and encourage that belief? Ok. If that is the intent they nailed it).

2.    I don’t really see why I would choose to either be a Boy Scout or have my son (if I had one) become a Boy Scout. (ok. what I am saying is leveraging off a 100 year heritage is not compelling enough to make me choose)

3.     I would be fine with leveraging a message from 100 years if it were buttressed with some unexpected possibly contradictory thought (anyone surprised here?) that made people think about Boy Scouts differently. (best example I can think of continues to be the Girl Scouts ad I posted once).

Girl Scout example:

Ok. That is the Girl Scouts.

But. In the end I would suggest the Boy Scouts truly missed an opportunity.

The Boy Scouts don’t do a lot of advertising. Therefore missing opportunities like this one means they had better be prepared to continue dealing with the relevancy issues they have already been dealing with.

Be prepared to be called old (or maybe better said “continue to be called old).

Be prepared to explain why the heck they spend money to say nothing like this.


And be prepared to do something else.

I do love the decision on the production style. It looks beautiful and classic.

The truly missed opportunity is that if they had put a non classic looking evocative message on that production style they would have had the opportunity to suggest that Boy Scouts actually has both those characteristics – classic & contemporary.

For example (harkening back to my point 3 above) imagine if they used one of these  images with a headline that says something like “100 years of values in every One of our scouts”:

Are they exactly right?


Would people take a look?


Would people start thinking that maybe the Boy Scouts were changing? Maybe.


The Boy Scout just look classically old and dated.

Awesome organization. Poor communications execution.

Written by Bruce