The U.S. Army is now operating with 544,000 troops, about 50,000 more than it had in 2005. With the challenging fight ahead in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is looking to increase the size of the force by 22,000 men and women. A New York Times report indicates that traditional advertising has brought in sufficient numbers of recruits but today’s new soldiers often lack the educational achievement the commanders are looking for.
This situation has prompted the Army to change its advertising. Going forward, the Army will be marketing directly to high-achieving recruits. The new strategy should bring in officer-level candidates that the organization desperately needs. One senior military official noted, “It is a different era, and it requires a different kind of thinker.” The new advertising from the Army will encourage potential recruits to realize that their service will be mentally challenging and that they can make a difference.
General Freakley, Army spokesperson, believes the new campaigns will essentially work as a brand reset. Previously, U.S. consumers had associated Army advertising with a non-professional career. By featuring business executives who tout their Army officer experience, this branch of the military plans to reach out using not only TV but also via online sites that typically appeal to athletes.[Source: Quenqua, Douglas. “With Enough Soldiers, The Army is Looking for a Few Good Officers,” New York Times, 8.3.09]