The Army has a really optimistic view of Generation Z, and as a Millennial who has been blamed for ruining everything under the sun, may I just say — must be nice!
A new marketing campaign announced at the Association of the U.S. Army conference on Tuesday, called "What's Your Warrior?" aims to "surprise" the prime 17- to 24-year-old target audience for the Army. The campaign aims to cater to what Gen Z wants, which the Army believes is to better themselves and be part of an organization with a bigger purpose.
Brig. Gen. Alex Fink, the Army's chief of enterprise marketing, told Task & Purpose on Tuesday that the Army believes the youth today "want to become the best versions of themselves," and they want to "be part of an organization that is bigger than they are." The new campaign hopes to advertise the opportunities in the Army — something the service hasn't done well in the past.
"The problem is, in past campaigns we haven't told that story very effectively. We have told people what they already know about the Army," Fink said. "Another thing we know about this generation is that you've got to surprise them. … So when we show a commercial or an ad that shows the very intense combat role — which a lot of our ads, a lot of our other sister services ads do — we're not surprising them, they already know that about the Army."
The Army has known for some time that in order to attract recruits outside their wheelhouse, they had to increase attention on the full spectrum of jobs that the Army offers, not just the typical combat roles, which was the highlight of the previous Warriors Wanted campaign.
Fink said that the message they want potential recruits to see in "What's Your Warrior?" is that there's "other ways you can serve" than the combat soldier that many immediately think of when they think of the Army. Think cyber, lab techs, medical, and more.
The campaign is expected to roll out in the second week of November with the first 60-second spot focusing on the team in the campaign — a signal support systems specialist, combat soldier, aviator, lab technician, and cyber soldier. Down the road, it will hone in specifically on each MOS.
"The idea is, if you think about a Marvel-type series, and it was how these characters, heroes, came together and it wasn't any individual that defeated evil. It was the power of the team that defeated evil," Fink said. "And that's how we see that rolling out, is it's the team and all of the skill sets and talents that they bring is what it takes to win."
And while responses to the campaign announcement on the cesspool that is Twitter were less than ideal, most of the people poking fun probably aren't the target audience.
In various testing — online, in focus groups and around the Army — Fink said the service found that "What's Your Warrior?" was 21% more effective in attractiveness of the campaign; 13% more attention-grabbing than Warriors Wanted; and it resulted in 14% more action being taken after viewing it.
It's unclear how successful this will actually be in recruiting once it's rolled out, which will be primarily on digital channels and includes a multi-cultural strategy to reach every demographic. But the head of Army recruiting is as hopeful as ever.
"I am excited to see the response we get from this new campaign," Maj. Gen. Frank Muth said in a statement to Task & Purpose. "I believe it is going to be a fresh take on the talents and capabilities of the modern Soldier and will really resonate with today's young people."