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New Army Recruiting Slogan Unveiled
Associated Press  |  October 09, 2006
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army has tried to lure recruits with the advertising slogan "An Army of One" for less than six years, a blink of an eye in the hidebound traditions of the U.S. military. But the Army plans to dump it, starting next month, in favor of "Army Strong."

"An Army of One" was introduced to combat what consultants determined was a view among recruiting-age people that the Army was dehumanizing. The slogan has been derided by many from its outset as a glib fantasy of the regimentation required by the uniform.

"If you want to be an `Army of One' you probably want to join the Hell's Angels, not the U.S. Army," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute research group.

The new approach, the fruit of a $200 million-a-year (euro158.7 million) contract with a major advertising agency, was announced Monday by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey. He said "Army Strong" will be the centerpiece of a multimedia ad campaign to be launched Nov. 9, timed to coincide with Veterans Day weekend, Saturday, Nov. 11.

Army officials acknowledge that recruiting during wartime is difficult, particularly with the Iraq war grinding on far longer than Bush administration officials expected and with U.S. troops dying in battle almost every day.

"There's no question that we want to have a marketing boost right now. It's important to us," said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, who oversees the recruiting effort as commander of U.S. Army Accessions Command.

The Army missed its recruiting target in 2005 by the widest margin in more than two decades, but bounced back this year to reach its goal of signing up 80,000 new soldiers.

Army officials said the switch did not mean the "Army of One" slogan was a loser, despite the heavy criticism that it has endured.

The Army adopted "Army of One" in January 2001 to replace the "Be All You Can Be" campaign, which lasted nearly 20 years but which Army officials had soured on during that era of recruiting problems.

"Army Strong" was developed by McCann Worldgroup, the communications firm the Army hired last December after struggling through its disappointing recruiting year. The overall five-year contract with McCann Worldgroup is valued at $1 billion (euro790 million), with the first two years guaranteed at $200 million (euro158.7 million) annually.

The new slogan, developed in numerous tests with focus groups and interviews with soldiers, is meant to convey the idea that if you join the Army you will gain physical and emotional strength, as well as strength of character and purpose.

The other military services also rely on slogans to spearhead their advertising. Just last month the Air Force switched its slogan from "Cross Into the Blue" to "Do Something Amazing." The Navy has relied on "Accelerate Your Life" since January 2001, and the Marine Corps has long used "The Few. The Proud."

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