US Army Going For Team Approach?

Posted by: David Kiley on November 9, 2005

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Ad Age reports that The U.S. Army has decided to ditch its “Army of One” theme. The Army is in the midst of a review for a new ad agency as its not meeting its recruitment goals. The Army missed its fiscal 2005 recruiting target of 80,000 recruits by nearly 7,000.

I wrote a story a few months ago about Army advertising, and the very professional and saavy officers I interviewed all expressed confusion about why the line ever made it off the chalkboard.

Not only is the Army the epitome of a team when its properly run and managed. But it seemed to fly in the face of how young men and women are raised today in public schools and community athletics. Extreme competition, the kind that I associate with the self-centeredness and self-actualization “An Army of One,” is not encouraged or fostered. Kids play on teams, for example, and they all seem to get a plaque or trophy whether they win or not.

Drill down on the slogan, and, okay, I get it. The campaign is about an individual being all he can be and taking responsibility. And many of the ads certainly convey that. But a slogan is a vitally important piece of a communication strategy. And in my book, a good line should always be able to stand alone on a page without any pictures and convey the whole idea without rank and file constituents, never mind the target for the ads, saying, “Huh?”

Reader Comments

Adam Saunders

November 9, 2005 7:16 PM

Sure, the army's tagline could use an update, but somehow I don't think that a new ad slogan is going to help recruitment much. The prospect of an early death is going to be a downer on any slogan or ad campaign. You really can't spin death in a good way. Still, Madison Avenue certainly tries.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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