Public Interest and Support for the Peace Corps Increases; On a Small Budget, Agency Gets the Word Out to Large Audience
November 24, 1998Washington, D.C., November 24, 1998—This year, with an annual marketing budget of less than $120,000, the Peace Corps has obtained an estimated $15 million worth of free media exposure, including advertisements on television and in such noteworthy publications as Time and TV Guide.
The Peace Corps has revitalized its image with a new 52-page recruitment catalog, youth-oriented recruitment video, and a redesigned Web site. Interest in the Peace Corps has increased 50 percent since 1994, with 150,000 people inquiring last year alone about serving in the Peace Corps.
"The good work Peace Corps volunteers do around the world is highly respected here in the United States," Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said. "There is a growing awareness about the enormous contributions that volunteers make overseas, as well as in their communities when they return home."
As part of its continuing efforts to get out the word about how more Americans can serve as volunteers, the Peace Corps has secured an arrangement with Blockbuster to place a new recruitment video with all of its 4,400 stores across the country. The new video features volunteers serving in South Africa, Ecuador, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan, and is free of charge starting in mid-December.
In addition, the Peace Corps has arranged to have a public service advertisement played each hour on the giant Panasonic screen in the heart of Times Square in New York City.
Gearan noted that the Peace Corps has been mentioned in a string of recent movies ("The Waterboy," "Something About Mary," and "The Horse Whisperer") and television shows ("Seinfeld," and "7th Heaven"). A commemorative U.S. postage stamp honoring the Peace Corps will be available in 1999, after the public voted to select the Peace Corps as one of the most memorable and lasting icons of the 1960s.
The agency's public service announcements have received increased air time, including prime-time coverage on NBC and TNT. The Peace Corps was also featured in the November issue of Life magazine as one of the "100 Best Things About America Right Now."
Currently, more than 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 80 countries in education, the environment, health and nutrition, business advising, and community development. Peace Corps volunteers began serving in Mozambique and Bangladesh for the first time last month. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.