The Military Does MySpace

We want to point to a new article in Brandweek that illustrates how the U.S. military is relying on “sell-em” techniques to boost enlistments. Boy, with the Iraq war such a disaster (to put it charitably), what a bad “advertising environment” the marketing folks in the Pentagon have to work with. Brandweek’s Jim Edwards was able to obtain Air and Army National Guard marketing records via a Freedom of Information request. Edwards reports that “[T]he documents—which describe internal market research memos, e-mails and PowerPoint presentations—offer an inside look at how Pentagon marketers saw consumer sentiment change, and they confirm that as the war progressed, particularly around 2004, their job got harder and harder.” The Brandweek story describes how the Reserve tested “alternative positionings for its brand,” including on the themes of “Hero, Everyman, Caregiver and Explorer…”

It appears that recruiting is now up, as a result of the intensive and well-funded marketing spin. Some tidbits:

“The total Pentagon ad spend went up 10.5% in 2005, to $276 million, after news that the Army and the Marines were not meeting their goals in some months in 2005. In the first six months of 2006, that spend ballooned to $177 million, putting the Pentagon on course for $345 million spent for the full year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.”

“Like other marketers trying to reach a young demo, the National Guard is considering opening a MySpace page…(The Marines, by the way, have a MySpace page—which showed 22,000 “friends” last week—and have released a viral video made by JWT, New York.)”

Congrats to Edwards and his editors for entrepreneurial reporting.

Source: “How National Guard Is Fighting Attrition.” Jim Edwards. Brandweek. October 02, 2006. Subscription may be required.

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YouTube Pitches itself to Advertisers: Everything Can Go!

According to today’s, YouTube’ founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are “[N]ow exploring “complementary” advertising, Hurley said the site can help redefine the $74 billion TV ad industry by combining context, like Google’s text ads, with the sensory power of TV to present “a compelling brand image”. Hurley and Chen are open to anything apparently – ideas include user-generated ads, behind-the-scenes ad footage, sponsored vlogs and “event marketing” shoots at film festivals. The home page video ad, which NBC and ESPN use to plug new shows, generates around $175,000 and 400,000 viewers. (Update: that’s per day, according to this piece.)”

Where will the boundaries be? How will privacy be truly protected? What kind of special treatment will the big media and marketing companies receive when they fork out all that daily dough? Stay tuned for more coverage on Web 2.0.