The Army National Guard is trying out a new recruiting message that is essentially: things are really shitty right now, but you can fix it.
The Guard’s most recent spot is part of a new campaign geared toward “The Next Greatest Generation.”
The advertising campaign is tailored for young adults ages 18 to 24, which means Generation Z — so save the “Millennial” trash talk for another time. The campaign, officially titled “The Next Greatest Generation is Now” features soldiers currently serving in the National Guard in a range of roles, from those in the infantry to medics, cooks, and cyber, according to a statement from the Army National Guard Bureau.
The video begins with a young man walking down a deserted city street, past closed shops, and empty buildings, as an unnamed narrator sets the tone: “We understand an upside-down world. We understand a rogue virus, zero jobs, and stratospheric tuition, but they’re writing us off before we get to the start-up line.”
“A stalled generation? Not so fast,” the narrator continues. “Who do you think is going to fix all this? We will.”
As he speaks, the video runs through the usual fare of a recruitment ad: Soldiers doing soldier things, but with a National Guard twist; guardsmen leap down from trucks carrying boxes of water and MREs for those in need, and walk through disaster areas providing relief, as the camera cuts across a diverse cast of currently serving Guard soldiers.
“We will because our future is the future,” the narrator says in his monologue. “Because the life we have chosen has prepared us for this moment in history. So we’re going to build bridges and hospitals in a day. We’re going to save families from disaster and feed those left in the cold. We’re going to do all this and more because we have an appointment with destiny. We invite you to join us.”
The commercial’s message, far from being hyperbolic, actually seems quite well reasoned: Things are rough right now. As the ad points out, the United States is struggling to get a handle on the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has had a dramatic impact on job prospects, coupled with skyrocketing costs of college tuition in recent years.
Meanwhile, the National Guard’s responsibilities have continued to grow in frequency and scope, as has their need for more personnel.
The National Guard’s roughly 335,000 soldiers are tasked with handling a wide range of missions at home and abroad. Over the last two decades, National Guard personnel have deployed overseas in support of the Global War on Terror. They’ve responded to natural disasters such as raging wildfires, hurricanes, and floods; briefly being deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border; and more recently, they’ve been mobilized to support COVID-19 relief efforts and to respond to civil unrest.
With that context in mind, the ad takes on a bit more urgency, but it also suggests that something is missing: Yes, we need the National Guard, but they also need those who are willing and able to carry out their unique mission. And frankly, so do we.
But enough about what we think of the Guard’s new ad campaign: What about you: what do you think of it? Share your responses in the comment section on social media, or email our resident Army reporter, Haley Britzky at Haley@taskandpurpose.com, or myself, at James@taskandpurpose.com and let us know.