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Hotel guests recruited with Homeland Security TV spots

The Department of Homeland Security is recruiting hotel guests to join the fight against terrorism.

Starting today, the welcome screens on 1.2 million hotel television sets in Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn and other hotels in the USA will show a short public service announcement from DHS. The 15-second spot encourages viewers to be vigilant and call law enforcement if they witness something suspicious during their travels.

During the PSA, which starts with a woman exiting a yellow taxi in front of a train station, a narrator says, “Maybe you see something suspicious. Can you be sure? If you see something, say something to authorities.”

The PSA, which will be interspersed with other messages on the welcome screen, will be the same in all 5,400 hotels that LodgeNet serves. It ends by telling viewers to contact “local authorities.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that reaching the “millions of guests that stay at hotels and motels each year is a significant step in engaging the full range of partners in our Homeland Security efforts.”

The federal government gained access to hotel TV sets by forming a partnership with the hotel industry’s largest association — the American Hotel & Lodging Association — which connected DHS with LodgeNet, the industry’s largest TV-content provider.

By entering hotels at a time when the hospitality industry is on the rebound, the government has the power to tap a growing, captive audience.

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