The National Parks Service Is Hiring Millennials through a Computer Game

Any marketer will tell you how tough it is to reach millennials. Filled with media and solidified versus traditional marketing, this age group needs edgy, non-traditional, and various before it starts focusing.


To that end, the National Parks Foundation is relying on an extremely un-national park-type medium to encourage millennials to volunteer. It's marketing a computer game that lets individuals "experience" a park without ever setting foot in one.


Called Save the Park, the online game was established by Games for Change, a New York nonprofit, and moneyed through a $250,000 grant from American Express. It lets gamers handle volunteer personas and after that complete park-essential tasks like planting trees, securing food from bears, and getting trash.


"We feel that games are a way to drive interest among people who would not see other messaging because there's so much material out there for individuals to absorb," says Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change. "We believe we can engage with audiences about social problems in a way traditional media does not.


The iPhone online game is a recruiting tool in "limitless runner" format something a little like Jetpack Joyride or Temple Run. There are four functions to play: Mei (who lives in California and already volunteers), Ben (a military vet who does animal protection), Luna (a 19-year-old university student who's preferred pastime is salsa dancing) and Andre (a graphic designer who volunteers with his interaction skills). There are three environments (forest, desert, and shoreline), and the goal is obtain points by finishing tasks or gathering Easter eggs. That lets you get to the next level.


"It's extremely hard to pull on the psychological heart strings, and state 'Hey, just volunteer,'" says Meredith Hahn, VP of industrial duty at American Express. "Instead, exactly what you have to state is, 'You can have a function in helping X.' In this case, we wanted to put people in the function of a volunteer and actually reveal a need and show how you connect to that need. We pepper those connections with recommendations saying, 'Now do this in the real world.'".