Image via GoArmy / YouTube (screenshot)
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The United States Army has put out a new set of advertisements targeting prospects from Generation Z with a campaign called "First," which looks to bolster struggling recruitment numbers.
The new ads feature what can be described as shockingly normal content, void of gender and race-related messaging, that chronicles the first steps in the recruitment process. "First Arrival" shows a diverse cast of recruits waking up and saying their goodbyes to family members before boarding a bus bound for basic training.
"First Patch" showcases recruits going through various steps of basic training and then graduating, while "First Target" has a male-female duo loading and firing a tank shell. The videos have amassed nearly 500,000 views on YouTube alone.
The Army has expected that it will fall approximately 15,000 recruits short of its 2023 goal, the Wall Street Journal reported, the largest shortfall of any of the four major military branches.
The Navy will reportedly be 10,000 recruits short, while the Air Force will come up 3,000 short. According to Military.com, only the Marine Corps is poised to meet recruiting number needs.
The recruitment for Gen Z continues to drop, however, with just a reported 9% of Americans ages 16-21 saying they would enlist in 2022. In 2021, that number was 13%.
Children of military families reportedly make up the majority of new recruits, and modern social media influencers do not help, it seems.
"Influencers are not telling them to go into the military," said Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Moms and dads, uncles, coaches, and pastors don't see it as a good choice" either, he added.
"You can't underestimate the fact we didn't have recruiters on college and high school campuses for two years," said Katherine Kuzminksi, head of the Military, Veterans and Society Program.
"Recruiters are the only military access point for many people," she continued.
The marketing strategy is part of a massive $4 billion investment made in 2018, a 10-year contract with Chicago marketing giant DDB. The equates to a monthly marketing bill in excess of $33 million.
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