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Army debuts new recruiting ads aimed at high-tech civilians rather than soldiers

Rather than "Be All You Can Be," the Army is hoping its latest TV ads convince civilians to, well, be what they already are as Army Civilians.
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Image from the Army's latest commercial "Boxes" which is part of the civilian marketing campaign "Find Your Level."

The Army’s latest television spots are aimed at different recruits than the service’s typical high-energy, parachute-and-tanks ads. In two new ads released today, the Army wants to catch the attention of civilians already working in science and engineering fields and sell them on similar jobs working for the military.

The civilian-targeted campaign, dubbed “Find Your Next Level,” features two commercials that show off two Army Civilian careers that mirror civilian jobs– one a scientist drilling into the ice in arctic conditions and the other an engineer surrounded by satellites the size of skyscrapers.

The two new commercials will be featured in television, print, digital billboards, streaming video, social platforms and audio channels.

In a first for the service whose recruiting legacy includes action-heavy ad campaigns like “Be All You Can Be,” the Army is hoping “Find Your Next Level” convinces civilians to, well, be what they already are, and work for the Army as in civilians jobs similar to the ones they already have. Army Civilians are employed by the Army but do not enlist or commission, do not go to basic training and do not wear uniforms.

“Today’s workforce seeks meaningful careers, but few see Army Civilian Careers as a source of those opportunities,” Brig. Gen. Antoinette Gant, chief of the Army Enterprise Marketing Office said in a news release. “’Find Your Next Level’ aims to bridge this gap by demonstrating how today’s professionals can apply real-world job skills to impactful projects and careers they can’t find anywhere else.”

The Army has been vocal about its recruiting crisis due to image problems with Gen Z, Americans’ waning trust in public institutions, and competition with the private sector. But the service’s struggle to hire and retain civilians who work in fields like contracting, finance, cybersecurity and engineering is a recent problem highlighted by other efforts in addition to the latest marketing campaign. 

Just last month, the service held its first “Total Army” recruiting event in Texas, seeking out potential soldiers as well as candidates for nearly 500 vacant civilian positions. Roy Wallace, assistant to the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff linked the large number of open positions to “record breaking” retirements during the pandemic.

“I don’t know if I can blame that on COVID and the outcomes of COVID and things like that, but we have been seeing a larger than normal retirement rate which means you gotta replace those people,” Wallace told reporters in April. “Those people that are retiring are your folks with a lot of experience, so you’ve got to start early. You’ve gotta get the younger people in.”

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One of the ads, dubbed “Boxes,” captures an Army civilian physical scientist and his team as they drill into the ice to take samples for ice core research. The campaign will also be distributed in Spanish.

“If you find yourself in a box that can no longer contain you, it’s time to find a bigger box,” the narrator says. “Find your next level.”

“Sky” shows an Army civilian satellite engineer working at an expansive satellite array with a team. The camera pulls back to show the engineer surrounded by enormous satellites with mountains in the background. Perhaps the North American Aerospace Defense Command facility in Colorado Springs?

“If you choose to be challenged, the sky isn’t the limit. It’s just the beginning,” the narrator says. “Find your next level.”

The campaign’s launch coincides with the debut of a new Army Civilian brand, which includes an Army Civilian logo and other “creative elements reflective of the overall Army brand launched in 2023.”

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