The U.S. Army just launched a new marketing campaign called "Warriors Wanted," featuring short, digital ads on social media and cable TV aimed at Generation Z.
The campaign debuted on cable networks Thursday night with a short video showing soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment fast-roping out of helicopters into urban combat.
"Whereas past campaigns focused on a little bit about why we do what we do ... this one is really focusing in on a very modern, ready and lethal force," said Alison Bettencourt, spokeswoman for the Army Marketing and Research Group. "Our initial launch was through social media, and then last night we actually had it hit broad-reach, so it aired several times on different network channels. ... There will be several commercials that will come out under this campaign."
The new campaign is not the new recruiting slogan to replace "Army Strong," an effort that Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey hinted at in June. It is, however, part of the service's recruiting reform effort launched after the service missed its annual recruiting goal by more than 6,000 soldiers.
The campaign also features a landing page on GoArmy.com that pairs images of soldiers with messages such as "we do what's right," "we never quit," "we never accept defeat" and "we lead the way."
"There are things we are doing on social media to highlight the social stories and really drive to a deeper conversation in the digital sphere, which is where we know Gen Z likes to engage," Bettencourt said. "We always have to find the balance in our marketing where it resonates with both our prospect audience and their influencers but also, really importantly, our internal audiences."
She added, "This generation is always looking for kind of third-party validation of anything they see or hear, so if they have contacts that know somebody in the Army ... they go out on social media and engage in discussions where soldiers are and they say, 'Is that realistic?' or 'What do you guys think about that commercial?' It's important that our soldiers, our internal audiences ... are excited about it as well."
All of the commercials for the campaign were shot at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They will air on networks such as TBS, TNT, ESPN and AMC and feature soldiers from the 75th Rangers, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 5th Special Forces Group and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
"We so far have pretty good feedback on this one," Bettencourt said. "It hasn't even been 24 hours, and it's exceeding most of our benchmarks."
The Warriors Wanted campaign is scheduled to run through December, but there are other efforts to come that feature a "unique digital experience," she said.
"We've got some other campaigns planned," she added, describing an effort to better coordinate local and national markets. "We've got a pilot program that we are doing in Chicago to look at how we can really customize content so that we are really engaging our prospects through messaging that is relevant to them, down even to the zip-code level."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.