Boy Scouts Build Character and New Members

Houston Area Boy Scouts Advertising Campaign

The Challenge

As the Sam Houston Area Council (SHAC), the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, was experiencing a five-year decline in membership enrollment, the organization’s new marketing director was looking to turn things around. Its mission “to build men of character,” was being lost as the organization struggled at the natural level to maintain its cultural and social relevance.


ParkerHayden, Breakfast at 12′s Mark Hayden’s previous firm, conducted research that uncovered the best market to target was potential scouts ages six- through 10-years-old and their parents. Older boys were never an option because after the age of nine or 10, most have already committed to an activity whether it was baseball, football or soccer. Our messaging needed to communicate not just the character-building aspects of Scouting, but the fun that young boys can have as Cub Scouts and how they can enjoy those activities while participating in sports outside of Scouting.


The Solution

Our research uncovered opportunities for growth with both English-speaking and Hispanic second-generation boys, who culturally embraced the Scouting organization’s ideals. These ideals aligned perfectly with their strong religious viewpoints and family values, so we wanted to communicate the character-building activities, life-leadership skills plus the fun and exciting adventures Cub Scouting provides.


After securing donations from numerous media outlets for the non-profit, we launched a multimedia campaign which included English and Spanish websites, television, radio and outdoor media. Since SHAC did not have a landing page where prospects could get relevant information, we created a separate microsite,, which was the campaign’s information headquarters for those outside the organization looking to know more. On television, Scouts gave unscripted testimonials of their experience urging viewers to visit the microsite. See the work.

The Results

The campaign generated a surge in overall interest in the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Results included:

A record-breaking $6.8 million raised during the development campaign
More than 15% of calls were from Spanish-speaking individuals
The revamping of the organization’s websites produced a 322% increase in online recruiting, and a 341% leap in unique visitors over the previous year.