We want to point to a new article in Brandweek that illustrates how the U.S. military is relying on â€œsell-emâ€ techniques to boost enlistments. Boy, with the Iraq war such a disaster (to put it charitably), what a bad â€œadvertising environmentâ€ the marketing folks in the Pentagon have to work with. Brandweekâ€™s Jim Edwards was able to obtain Air and Army National Guard marketing records via a Freedom of Information request. Edwards reports that â€œ[T]he documentsâ€”which describe internal market research memos, e-mails and PowerPoint presentationsâ€”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.â€ The Brandweek story describes how the Reserve tested â€œalternative positionings for its brand,â€ including on the themes of â€œHero, Everyman, Caregiver and Explorerâ€¦â€
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 pageâ€¦(The Marines, by the way, have a MySpace pageâ€”which showed 22,000 “friends” last weekâ€”and have released a viral video made by JWT, New York.)”
Congrats to Edwards and his editors for entrepreneurial reporting.
Source: â€œHow National Guard Is Fighting Attrition.â€ Jim Edwards. Brandweek. October 02, 2006. Subscription may be required.