The Army has perfectly captured the wisdom of the axiom “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” by returning to the classic “Be All You Can Be” recruiting slogan that the service used from the 1980s until 2001.
After testing several different possible recruiting slogans, the Army found that “Be All You Can Be” was the message that resonated most with people of all ages, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said at an event on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to mark the start of the service’s new brand campaign.
Indeed, the audience at the National Press Club burst into applause — and one person gave a thunderous “Hooah!” — after the Army played an internal video featuring the “Be All You Can Be” tagline that it shared on social media earlier this week.
On Wednesday, the Army released the first two recruiting commercials featuring the “Be All You Can Be” tagline that are part of the service’s new $117 million campaign. The two ads – “Overcoming Obstacles” and “Pushing Tomorrow” – are both narrated by actor Jonathan Majors, star of the movies Creed III and Devotion.
“Be All You Can Be” and its accompanying jingle have proven to stand the test of time in ways that other Army recruiting slogans have not. Over the past two decades, the service has tried to market itself as “An Army of One” as well as “Army Strong.” Most recently, the Army launched its “What’s Your Warrior” campaign in 2019.
Wormuth and other top Army leaders on Wednesday discussed why some of the Army’s other recruiting campaigns since 2001 have not gained the same traction as “Be All You Can Be.”
“I was a little puzzled when ‘Army of One’ came out because it’s an Army; and we’re a big Army,” Wormuth told reporters. “We’re not as big an Army right now as we have been at moments in the past, but I think ‘Army of One’ was a little bit of a head-scratcher for a lot of people.”
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Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston drew laughs from the audience when he said that he too was initially confused when he saw an “An Army of One” commercial that featured a soldier running through the desert without his helmet on.
“Nobody knew what was going on,” Grinston said.
While the subsequent “Army Strong” campaign was better because soldiers are tested time and again, “Be All You Can Be” resonates across different generations because its message is that you must push yourself every day to be the best person you can be, said Grinston.
“I want my daughters to be better than I was,” he added.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville smiled when he thought about prior Army recruiting campaigns because he was “in the room when those decisions were being made,” he said.
“An Army of One” attempted to convey the message that each person is an individual, but they are part of one team in the Army, McConville explained.
However, “Be All You Can Be” has proven to be the recruiting campaign that best captured the spirit of young men and women who are interested in joining the Army as well as parents and other influencers, he said.
“I have seen all these campaigns over the last 20 years, and it’s always come back to ‘Be All You Can Be,’” McConville said.
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