WASHINGTON (April 29, 2015) – “They didn’t join this team to win championships, or become famous, or get their own signature shoes,” the Army’s new commercial starts out.
“They joined because there is important work to be done, and only some able to do it,” the 60-second spot, launched April 27, states.
The commercial is part of efforts to reposition the Army brand, dispel myths, and have the American people better understand and value the institution, said Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing.
The Army is using the #ArmyTeam hashtag to promote the new marketing campaign on social media. The efforts are to reintroduce the American public to the Army and showcase the strength, versatility and professionalism of the force, he said.
“This is an extraordinarily great institution that does so many different things to make people’s lives better, to make America better, and to make the world better,” Davis said.
The commercial, Davis said, showcases that the Army has the “greatest set of capabilities and competencies of any institution on this planet.”
It shows Soldiers in a variety of roles, including warfighters, doctors, lawyers, aviators, technicians, and proud members of their community.
“One day they may be asked what they did to make a difference in this world,” the commercial continues, “They can respond, ‘I became a Soldier.'” The ad ends with an image of an elderly veteran saluting, then the words: “Join the team that makes a difference.”
ELITE FORCE OF TODAY
As part of the “repositioning” of the Army brand, the Army will not be using the “Army Strong” tagline in external communications, Davis said. He explained that the American people were unclear it meant the Army strengthens a person physically, emotionally and mentally.
“We’ve begun a transition from this transactional look at how the Army does business to reminding the American people that the institution itself matters,” he said.
The new efforts seek to turn around misperceptions, Davis said, like anyone can join, the Army is a “last resort” for people who can’t otherwise find a job, or that it isn’t an elite force.
Only a small portion of the American population is eligible to join the Army, due to physical, medical or other factors, Davis said. Even if someone does join, that still does not guarantee he or she will be able to meet the challenges of service and remain in the force, he said.
“When you look at Special Forces, you think elite,” Davis said. “You really need to look at the Army and think elite because the fact is: it is elite in that most people can’t ever be a part of it.”
The commercial, which is airing on networks and cable and being promoted on social media and elsewhere online, highlights the important work of the Army and the professionalism of the force, Davis said.
“No other institution has done more to bring freedom to the people of this world in the last 240 years” than the United States Army, he said.
To have the message sink in, the Army is boosting the frequency and reach of its outreach, Davis said. He declined to reveal a project that is still somewhat “secret,” but recommended the American people stay tuned for a lot more exciting things in this long-term, enduring conversation with the American people.
‘I BECAME A SOLDIER’
Once the American people better understand and value the Army, they will be more likely to support, recommend or consider serving in it, said James Ortiz, director of marketing at the Army Marketing and Research Group.
“Their opinions and misperceptions took a long time to be formed. It’s going to take some exponentially greater time to undo them, and then to present reality,” Ortiz said.
Previously, the Army ran shorter commercials with less reach as it aimed at recruiting young males. This commercial, Ortiz said, is for America at large.
In an effort to have a greater impact, the Army decided to go longer than the industry standard of a 30-second spot. “It’s the kind of time you need to explain the story,” Ortiz said.
The American people will see the commercial farther and wider than the Army has ever done before, he said.
The Army has the copyright and trademark on that phrase “Army Strong” and will continue to use it in internal communications, said Ali Bettencourt, chief of communications at the Army Marketing and Research Group.
The Army will not have a new tagline, she said.
“We need to be viewed more like a luxury brand, and luxury brands don’t need to have taglines,” Bettencourt said.
“They just need to have their logo, which is recognizable and it stands for something good, exclusive, something I want and want to be a part of, and that’s where we are moving,” she said.