November 30, 2006
Army Marketing: Army Strong — But Will It Make a Difference?
The Army has a new slogan: Army Strong.
Army StrongThis replaces the Army of One nonsense we have endured for the last 5 years. Your Business Blogger/Old Soldier is delighted with the new verbiage.
Robert Burns, the AP Military Writer reports,
Army officials said the switch did not mean the “Army of One” slogan was a loser, but many have criticized it.
Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute research group, said the previous slogan seemed to promote the notion that you could join the Army and preserve your individuality.
“If you want to be an ‘Army of One’ you probably want to join the Hell’s Angels, not the U.S. Army,” he said.
The new war chant is a better descriptor; more authentic as the academics say. And is guaranteed to win advertising awards as it should.
The Washington Post reports on the $200 million a year ad campaign where the,
New York advertising firm McCann Erickson designed the campaign after winning the two-year Army contract, which can be renewed for three additional years.
The ads were tested on hundreds of soldiers, although studies show that it is difficult for the military to gain an accurate measure of the effectiveness of advertising, which is relatively expensive compared with other recruiting tools such as educational benefits and bonuses.
All of marketing, including military, should be measured against a matrix of benchmarks for grading a return on investment.[Goodness, look-it all those buzz phrases strung together. How impressive!…I’ll have to raise my fees.]
The measure of success in this marketing campaign with the new catch-phrase is in the number of recruits as compared to a like-time frame with the old slogan.
I am not persuaded that the Army Strong campaign will increase the recruiting numbers of the Army.
Heartbeat of AmericaThe Army Strong marketing mirrors the marketing done by Chevrolet with the Heart Beat of America branding from 1987 to 1994.
The genius of Sean K. Fitzpatrick was recognized by a number of awards for Chevrolet’s Heartbeat of America advertising effort.
Interestly, singer songwriter Robin Batteau wrote and sang both Chevrolet’s “Heartbeat of America” and “Be All You Can Be” for the US Army.
Steve Coomes, writes in Pizza Marketplace Image isn’t everything,
The Heartbeat of America, Chevrolet.
It’s not only one of the most memorable ad slogans of the 1980s, it was an advertising industry award winner.
And yet it failed miserably….
“That’s a perfect example of image advertising,” said Cavalloro, whose company, Performance Marketing, is based in Algonac, Mich. “Image advertising is the type of advertising that focuses more on the aesthetics and the artistic quality of an ad. It doesn’t get the reader to take action.”
(Marketing: Pizza, Chevy, Army. Ain’t America great or what.)
As it happens, I drove a Chevy Celebrity during the Heartbeat heyday. Not by choice. It was a company car. It was not, shall I say, reliable transportation.
So, Heartbeat of America won awards and cost millions of dollars. But Chevrolet sales dropped 17 percent in Heartbeat’s first year.
Great slogan. Crappy cars.
My concern is that advertising history will be repeated: The Pentagon will have terrific, award winning eye-wash. But that the results of the slogan’s effectiveness will be poor. Recruitment will remain a challenge.
Not because of a poor product. The Army output is outstanding. No. Recruitment will remain problematic — not because the Army is a difficult lifestyle. Or there is a war and you might die. Not because the Army is too hard.
No. Recruitment will falter because the Army is now seen as being too easy. Too soft.
Even girls can do it.
Women Loving WeaponsRecruitment will be troublesome because the Army is using double standards — different standards for men and women. For example,
The Army has soft, gentle, kinder standards for females. Double standards. New slogans will not fix this policy.
Thank you (foot)notes:
Management Training Tip: When recruiting new talent, don’t make the job sound easy. Make the job a challenge.
See the Chevy icon in…China.