Our nation’s military is not just at war with terror. There is an often overlooked conflict taking place right here in our backyard. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are locked in a constant battle to meet recruiting goals. No matter the war at hand, they are flooding our airwaves and our mailboxes with ads and offers encouraging us to join.
This is not a bad thing. I am absolutely in support of our military and am glad to see them putting in the effort required of a volunteer force. For clarification, that doesn’t mean you don’t get paid. It means there’s no draft. If you didn’t know that already, you should probably just stop reading this article right now. That said, I’d like to take a closer look at the success rate of our armed services achieving their set recruitment goals. Only the Marines, over a long period of time, have been successful at meeting goals without changing standards. Why is this? Is it that the Army, Navy, and Air Force suck? I really don’t think so. I think the main reason is the advertising methods. From watching football all Sunday, every Sunday, I’ve seen my share of military ads and hereby declare myself an expert on the subject. So let’s take a step back and analyze the different approaches taken by the different branches, shall we?
The Navy’s approach is to show the many different kinds of jobs that you can have. They range anywhere from SEAL, to radar guy, to sailor dude. They boast of hundreds of different positions that will help you grow as a person and will give you valuable and marketable skills. The Air Force is out to show that it’s not just for jocks. Are you that nerdy kid who knows a lot about computers? The Air Force wants you to be its techie. Do you like remote control planes? Come fly the unmanned aerial vehicles! Do you like reading maps? No? Come join anyway! See how versatile they are? I sure do.
Ah the Army. “An Army of One.” They go all out to show that the Army is more than just getting yelled at. You’ll learn the traits and characteristics necessary to become a leader and to be a success even after your service days are over. And you probably do.
The Marines? They promise nothing more than to make you a mother-fucking badass. Their commercials show dudes free-climbing huge rocks while telling you how tough it is to be make it as a marine. Another ad shows a guy go running across an ice bridge, then using a sword to battle some sort of fire demon. Both end with the guy victoriously turning into a marine. THIS is why their recruiting is successful. Does anyone actually think they’ll be fighting demons? Hopefully not. But they know damn well they’ll become hardcore ass-kickers.
See, people joining the services who are doing it for their future will actually look into the services on their own, without prompting by a commercial. The Marines recognize this, so they spend their money showing how tough they fucking are. How can the other services learn from this? Well for the Navy, that’s easy. Show some clips from “Top Gun” in commercials. Show Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards (That’s Goose, God rest his soul.) shooting the fuck out of some MiG’s and all around “Goin’ ballistic!” The Air Force can try to mooch off “Top Gun” too by counting on stupid people not knowing they’re Navy pilots, not Air Force. Or maybe show helicopters blowing the shit out of stuff in night vision.
What does that leave the Army? I say take the approach of showing the real benefit of being an “Army of One.” Have some buff Army guy kick the crap out of some assholes and walk off alone… aside from the half-dozen scantily clad girls on his arms. Imply that by joining the Army, hot chicks will want your body. It works for beer, and it can work for the Army.
Nathan Lovell is a junior mechanical engineering major.