The Army has released three new recruitment videos as the service continues to face challenges attracting new soldiers.

The service refers to the three videos collectively as the “First Steps” phase of its latest recruiting campaign, and they show trainees and new soldiers at the very start of their Army careers. Army Times first reported on Monday about the three new videos:

  • “First arrival” shows several young people saying goodbye to their family and friends and then getting onto a bus to begin basic training.
  • “First Patch” shows new soldiers having their families put the Army One Star patch on their shoulders, marking their successful completion of basic training.
  • “First Target” shows a tank crew firing their main gun for the first time.

“Gen Z wants to make their mark on the world, but they aren’t sure they can,” Ignatios Mavridis, acting chief of Army Enterprise Marketing, said in an Army news release. “Through ‘First Steps’’ depiction of real people, real emotions, and real scenarios, we’re showing today’s youth that you don’t have to have it all figured out from the beginning to make an impact. Taking a chance is the first step to achieving your goals.”

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All three videos are available on YouTube and can also be seen on social media; streaming services including BET, Hulu, and MAX, and elsewhere, said Laura DeFrancisco, a spokeswoman with the Army Enterprise Marketing Office.

On Monday, the commercials will appear on television during “Bar Rescue” on Paramount; “Chicago Fire” on USA; “The Office” on Comedy Central; “American Ninja Warrior” on NBC; “Police Academy” on AMC; “Street Outlaws” on Discovery; “Bill & Ted Face the Music” on Syfy; “Sports Center with Scott Van Pelt” on ESPN; and Keesha’s Perfect Dress” on Aspire,” DeFrancisco said.

Spanish language versions of the videos will run on Univision and Telemundo, she said.

The new recruiting commercials are part of the Army’s “Be All You Can Be” revival campaign, which the service’s top leaders announced with great fanfare in March.

But nearly three weeks later, the Army pulled two of the recruitment ads featuring actor Jonathan Majors following his arrest in connection with a domestic dispute. His trial date has been scheduled for Sept. 6.

Majors’ attorney Priya Chaudhry told Task & Purpose on Monday that the allegations against her client are false and he felt “profound disappointment” that his ties with the Army were severed over them.

“Jonathan’s loyalty to America remains unshaken,” Chaudhry said. “He stands in solidarity with our troops, grateful for their service and humbled by their supportive messages.”

Although Majors was part of the first two recruitment ads in March, he was never contracted to narrate or appear in the “First Steps” recruiting videos, DeFrancisco told Task & Purpose on Monday.

“‘First Steps’ is the next phase of the Army’s efforts to highlight the possibilities of service in support of the new brand and this campaign takes a decidedly different creative approach,” DeFrancisco said.  “It was always our intention to replace all existing in-market assets with ‘First Steps’ assets in August.”

These latest videos come as the Army has struggled in recent years to meet its recruiting goals. The service added 45,000 new soldiers last fiscal year, missing its recruiting goal by about 15,000 new recruits.

In July, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said the service won’t make this fiscal year’s goal of recruiting 65,000 new soldiers, but the recruiting situation is still better than it was in Fiscal Year 2022.

“So, I think by several thousand, we’re going to do better than we did last year,” Wormuth said at the Aspen Security Forum. “And that’s positive, but we’ve got more work to do.”

UPDATE: 08/21/2023; this story was updated with comments from Jonathan Majors’ attorney Priya Chaudhry.

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