In a new recruiting commercial released over the weekend, the Army wants to know: When the unbelievable happens, where are you?
Geared towards the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the service's quick, 30-second spot showcases a number of images from the current reality that the U.S. — along with the rest of the world — has found itself in: empty grocery store shelves, empty streets, someone visiting with an elderly person through a closed window, a woman reading a book over Zoom.
Then it turns to the helpers — the grocery store employees, public transit workers, health care workers, people making face masks — ending on a soldier in a lab.
"When the unbelievable happens," it says. "The unbelievable rise to meet it."
The commercial came together quickly — it was only first mentioned a month ago by Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis, the deputy commanding general of operations for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, who said he'd just spoken to the Army marketing team in Chicago, and that they were "going to start looking at adapting 'What's Your Warrior' in a way that's much more conducive to this idea of call to service."
But in the face of COVID-19, Army recruiting as a whole has had to mold its message to what the U.S. is facing today, and marketing is no exception. The darker, more serious tone of the "Unbelievable" commercial is a clear break from its fast-paced, colorful, loud "What's Your Warrior" predecessor.
"We've got to say, 'We are here with you," Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of USAREC, said of potential soldiers in March. "But our nation is in a national emergency right now, and we need them.
"This is a call to service, a call to action for all of them."