Army Strong?

This past week, the Army announced its new slogan — “Army Strong”.

Army Secretary Francis Harvey unveiled the new slogan and television advertisements at the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army. In rousing fashion, the unveiling was met with a round of grand applause and cheers from the audience.

“Army Strong” replaces “An Army of One.” The previous slogan was developed by Leo Burnett Worldwide, and served as the department’s recruiting slogan since 2001. If the launch video doesn’t make you puff out your chest, you may not be buying the new positioning.

The new slogan, “Army Strong”, will officially march out November 9th, and is (according to the new release) intended to “evoke soldiers’ physical and emotional strength, and the advertisement pushes strength of character and strength of purpose”.

McCann Erickson of New York took over the Army’s advertising contract in March, and is estimated to be worth up to $1.35 billion for up to 5 years.

Here’s a history of Army recruiting slogans since the service became an all-volunteer force:

“Today’s Army Wants to Join You”: 1971-73.
“Join the people who’ve joined the Army”: 1973-1979.
“This is the Army”: 1979-1981.
“Be All You Can Be”: 1981-2001.
“An Army of One”: 2001-2006.
“Army Strong”: Starts November 9th, 2006.

I wonder if this new campaign slogan truly reflects the brand, or is intended to somehow reposition the brand in a potential recruit’s mind. I’m no giant think tank like McCann Erickson of New York, but I do subscribe to some sage advice of a good local agency (KPS/3) whose principle advises “Don’t deny your brand, spin it to your advantage”.

With that in mind, maybe the Army should consider:
“Arm Me!”
“Don’t ask, Don’t tell”
“Experience the fine line between torture and interrogation”
or “???”

However we try to position the Army, the men and women who serve deserve our respect and appreciation for doing their jobs with honor – even in dishonorable conditions.

And as for me, spending $1.35 Billion dollars on trying to market the Army is money that should be spent on providing them with better equipment, and resources during, and after their duty.

They deserve more personalized career, emotional, financial and physical support from our coffers, and not just a new slogan.

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