Army Wants New Recruiting Slogan as Powerful as 'Be All You Can Be'

A Soldier assigned to the 189th Combined Arms Training Brigade maneuvers through an obstacle course during the Brigade's Best Captain Competition on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., April 4, 2018. (U.S. Army/SSG Eliverto V Larios)
A Soldier assigned to the 189th Combined Arms Training Brigade maneuvers through an obstacle course during the Brigade's Best Captain Competition on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., April 4, 2018. (U.S. Army/SSG Eliverto V Larios)

The U.S. Army is trying to dream up a replacement for its recruiting slogan "Army Strong" with one that's as successful as "Be All You Can Be" was at the end of the 20th Century.

"I think we have to change our marketing strategy as an Army, and we are looking at that right now," Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey told a group of defense reporters Monday.

"Army Strong," which was introduced in 2006, has been successful.

"One of the major responses we get when we survey folks who don't have experience with military service is strength, so we know the 'Army Strong' resonates ... but I don't think it tells the story, the full story of being a soldier," Dailey said.

"'Army Strong' is a good, I think, bumper sticker, ad campaign, but it doesn't tell the story, so I think that we've got to do a better job telling the story of being a soldier."

"Be All You Can Be" served as the Army slogan from 1980 to 2001 and was "one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever," Dailey said.

"I would love to do some throwback on that right now," Dailey said, describing how the popular slogan that even people that didn't serve in the military still say "hey, I remember 'Be All You Can Be.'"

"'Be All You Can Be' was a national identity to the Army ... it is still today," he continued. "I can say 'Be All You Can Be' and people just -- it was the national identity to the Army."

The challenge before the Army, Dailey said, is it has to reach two groups of people: 18-to-24 year olds and influencers in their lives such as parents and older relatives.

"We do very well when that influencer has served," Dailey said. "It's a very big audience ... and when the influencer has some knowledge of military service, they are very good at communicating the entire spectrum of what we do.

"We are looking at it really hard right now," Dailey said. "Of course, there are differences of opinion from the marketing folks."

As successful as "Be All You Can Be" was, other Army slogans have not worked that well.

"An Army of One" lasted from 2001 to 2006.

"I think we have tried things in the past, and we were criticized for some of them," Dailey said. "You know 'An Army of One' didn't go off very well."

But the market changes and the Army must adapt, Dailey argues.

"You do have to adapt because society changes; if we kept that same slogan that's like saying 'Coke Is It' for about hundred years, and I would tell you that their advertising firm would tell you that's not going to work, so I think we do have to adapt and change and that market is difficult.

"I don't know the answer to it yet. We are working on it hard right now, and we know we need one; it does make a difference -- it does."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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