Man floating peacefully in pool

New campaign promotes our services to veterans

17 March 2021

What do you do when those you're committed to supporting aren't aware of all the ways you can help them?

Services Helping Veterans

That's the question RSL Queensland faced when research showed that many veterans and their families didn’t realise the breadth of services we provide.

To answer this challenge, we set about creating a campaign to challenge perceptions and raise awareness around the vital and life-changing services RSL Queensland offers our community every day.

The campaign launched on 8 March Queensland-wide and will run through to the end of the year. It utilises a range of platforms including TV, cinema, billboard, social media and Defence publications, to ensure a high number of veterans and their families see the ads and become aware of RSL Queensland’s services.

The campaign video tells a moving story of a recently transitioned veteran, Paul, and his family, who find help and support from RSL Queensland while traversing life’s challenges. A three-day shoot was filmed across Brisbane in January, taking in office, home and outdoor lifestyle scenes which depict RSL Queensland’s employment, DVA claims and wellness programs. Supplementary ads for scholarships and crisis support were also produced.

Cast & crew on set for RSL Queensland's services campaign

All of the actors except two are ex-serving or Defence partners. The campaign’s lead actor, Zac McDonald, joined the army in 1995, serving for almost eight years.

“I was really young when I left and I didn’t know what to do,” he says. “Leaving is like leaving your family and being out on your own. It’s been good to be involved with promoting an organisation like RSL Queensland that helps veterans during this process and provides ongoing assistance.”

RSL Queensland CEO Melanie Wilson says it was important that the faces in the campaign were those of real veterans.

“Not only does featuring veterans provide employment for members of the community, but it gives our campaign real authenticity,” she says. “We know that veterans trust veterans and the more we can normalise veterans taking the steps needed to seek help, the more members of our Defence family we can help.”

WE’RE LISTENING

RSL Queensland took the insights from our research to heart, seeing it as an opportunity to tap into the collective voices of our 33,000 members.

“RSL Queensland is a highly recognised name, but our research showed that veterans weren’t aware of the vast range of services we offer, such as employment, DVA advocacy, accommodation support, mental and physical health services, crisis services and bereavement support programs,” Melanie says.

“We want this campaign to help members and the broader veteran community learn about and have a deeper understanding of the services we provide. We want them to reach out to us if they need help, or act as an advocate and refer other veterans and their families to us,” Melanie says.

Veteran mates talking

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER, AT EVERY STEP

“We know that being part of Defence isn’t always easy,” Melanie says. “The experiences our ADF personnel have while serving, and then as they transition out of service, can have a life-long impact.

“And it is important we are able to communicate to veterans that they don’t have to navigate this chapter alone – there are a wide variety of services designed to support them and their varying needs – from new recruits joining Defence to life after they finish service.

“As the largest ex-service organisation in Queensland, we help thousands of veterans every year, with practical support and assistance, as part of our mission to ensure a bright future and enduring legacy for our Defence family.”

To find out more about the services we offer, visit rslqld.org/services

MEET ZAC MCDONALD, THE FACE OF RSL QUEENSLAND’S NEW CAMPAIGN

Our new campaign features the faces of veterans from across Queensland and leading the action is Gold Coast-based actor Zac McDonald.

Zac McDonald, the face of RSL Queensland's new services campaign

Zac enlisted in the Army in 1995 as a heavy vehicle mechanic. He worked in Sydney and Brisbane, before being deployed to Timor in 1999. After almost eight years of service, Zac left Defence.

“I was young when I left the Army and wasn’t really ready for that sort of transition,” he says.

“When you’re in the Army you have your mates all around you. Leaving is like leaving family – you lose your sense of purpose.

“I got a job pretty quickly, but I wasn’t ready for it and needed more time.”

It was during this time that Zac ended up getting a job as an actor with what he describes as “a bunch of other ex-Army guys”.

“I loved it and off the back of that I did a few good years as an actor before my partner and I went travelling before settling down.”

After a stint working in the mines, and with three kids, Zac owns EPL Waterproof and Structural Solutions on the Gold Coast.

His advice to members in the process of leaving service?

“Be open to things. Get involved in the community, with your family. Try not to lose ties immediately from your mates in service because they’ll keep you grounded, too.”