- USAA, the financial services company for military members and their families, is urging people to take part in an #HonorThroughAction social media challenge that recognizes the country's 18 million living veterans on Veterans Day, according to a press release.
- USAA is asking people to draw the "V" symbol for veterans on their palms along with the initials of veterans they know, and to snap a picture of their hands to share on social media. It also encourages participants to use the #HonorThroughAction hashtag and challenge others to join in.
- Military veterans, athletes, entertainers and supporters will participate with social media posts that explain what Veterans Day means to them. USAA is urging people to support organizations such as The Mission Continues, the nonprofit group that helps veterans adjust to life after military service.
USAA is using social media as a spotlight to encourage people to honor veterans virtually during a highly unusual year. The strategy could carry special significance as the pandemic prevents many people from attending in-person Veterans Day events, many of which have been canceled or scaled back to avoid spreading the coronavirus. With social media usage rising among homebound consumers during the health crisis, USAA can reach a broader audience with its hashtag challenge as people urge others to participate in the effort.
USAA is among the organizations honoring veterans in a variety of promotional efforts that include discounts, freebies and volunteer efforts. 7-Eleven has special offers including free coffee for veterans who connect their accounts on 7Rewards, the convenience chain's app-based loyalty program, to Veterans Advantage, a buying club for members of the military community. Starbucks is offering free coffee for veterans, active service members and their spouses, while Wendy's is giving away breakfast combos to people with a valid military ID.
In addition, bakery chain Dunkin' this week asked Instagram users to show their appreciation for veterans by posting letters on Dunkin's story in the photo-sharing app. A Million Thanks, a nonprofit group that asks people to write letters of appreciation to members of the military, will print the digital letters and send them to those on active duty. Dunkin' also is giving away free doughnuts to veterans and active service members on Veterans Day.
USAA's challenge for Veterans Day follows other social media efforts to honor current and former military members on national holidays. For Memorial Day this year, the financial services company introduced its first augmented reality lens on photo-messaging app Snapchat. USAA created a digital version of its Poppy Wall of Honor — an exhibit the company first brought to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., two years ago — to let Snapchat users honor military service members killed in battle.