Army Recruiting Campaign Focuses on Prospects, Influencers
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2005 Army advertising aimed at parents, teachers, coaches and other adults who influence young people's decisions regarding military service appears to be gaining momentum as part of the overall "Army of One" recruiting campaign, the director of the Army's strategic outreach effort said today.
The Army launched four new commercials in April that specifically target adult influencers, an increasing number of whom have never served in the military and don't fully understand it or the benefits of military service, Army Col. Thomas Nickerson, of U.S. Army Accessions Command, said during a joint interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
While no one aspect of the total campaign can be evaluated separately from the others, Nickerson said, early indications are that in the months since the new ads began appearing, recruiting numbers and visits to the Army recruiting Web site are up.
"From just two or three months, we've seen some indication that the campaign as a whole is working harder for us," he said.
Nickerson called the new ads "the latest evolution" of the Army's overall recruiting campaign, which encourages prospective recruits and their adult influencers alike to talk to a recruiter to learn more about the Army and what it has to offer.
The program's goal is for prospective recruits to consider Army service and ideally, to enlist, he said, and for their adult influencers to support, and ideally, to encourage, that decision.
"It focuses on providing information to both prospects and influencers and, most importantly, encouraging them to seek more information about the tangible and intangible benefits of military service," Nickerson said.
In addition, he said, the ads "define what it is to be a soldier and the value of becoming a soldier."
The new commercials build on a previous campaign launched during the 2004 National College Athletic Association basketball tournament. That campaign focused on what the Army can offer future soldiers -- from money for college to job training and character building -- in an effort to help parents understand why they should support their sons' and daughters' decisions to join the Army.
The newest ads portray moments ranging from a son telling his mother he's found someone to pay for college to a father praising his son who has just returned from basic training for the positive ways in which he's changed.
Nickerson said the ads convey the story not portrayed in the 24/7 news coverage of the war on terror. "What's not being told is the complete story -- the value of becoming a soldier and what a soldier is all about," he said. "What we're also saying is that the Army will prepare your son or daughter to be successful in whatever they choose to do in life, not only today, but also for the future."