WASHINGTON _ “Any threat, any misson.”
That’s the message Waltham-based defense giant Raytheon wants Congress to hear in these lean times when it is considering how much of the federal purse strings to let loose for the company’s latest suite of weapons and military technologies.
For thousands of congressional staffers who commute to Capitol Hill each day it’s a message that is hard to forget. That’s because it’s all around them, in the form of a new campaign by one of the Pentagon’s top contractors to saturate the subway station just steps from the U.S. Capitol with ads for some of its most lucrative products.
The Capitol South station is literally covered wall to wall with Raytheon’s tailor-made billboards and banners. There are ads for the Patriot missile, the so-called JLENS surveillance blimp, the Standard missile, satellite communications, and another advocating the company’s cyber warfare solutions: “defeat persistence with resilience.”
It’s a scene usually reserved for an international arms exhibition—or at least the Pentagon rail station across the river. But these are desperate times—of sequestration and talk of more budget cuts. It’s one thing to convince the Pentagon to request your products in its annual budget plan. It is another to get Congress to pay for them.
So the placards and pictures of missiles firing, satellites orbiting, and submarines surfacing are everywhere—on the escalators, on the walls approaching the turnstiles, on both sides of the mezzanine, and all along the train platform.
“We’re on a mission. Look around you’ll see,” passengers are invited. “Innovation is everywhere.”
How much does it all cost? According to Dan Langdon of CBS Outdoor, which handles the advertising for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, “the Capitol South Station advertising is listed at $125,000 for the advertising space for 4 weeks. Production is not included.”
So far the company says it is happy with the response it is receiving from the ad blitz.
“We have received a lot of positive feedback on Capitol South,” e-mails company spokesman Jon Kasle.
At least one minor detail is left out of the display. It has to do with that big image of the Zumwalt-class destroyer that greets riders entering the station.
Turns out the Navy cut the orders from 32 ships to just three because it decided it couldn’t afford any more. That was back in 2008.
But Congress can still change its mind, right?Bryan Bender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.