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Army Launches Second Phase Of Brand Reboot Focused On ‘Relatability’

The Army released the second wave of promotional videos in its rebranding campaign Monday intended to boost its “relatability” to a diverse array of Americans amid persistent recruiting problems, according to Defense One.

The Army revived its 1980s slogan “Be All You Can Be” in March in hopes of attracting a new generation of future soldiers as recruiting fell 25% short of its goals in 2022 and is expected to mirror the shortfall in 2023. The “First Steps” series is meant to appeal to Gen Z’s desire for genuine engagement and emphasize knowledge, culture and trust, Ignatios Mavridis, the acting chief of Army Enterprise Marketing, told Defense One.

“Gen Z wants to make their mark on the world, but they aren’t sure they can,” Mavridis said in a statement. “Through ‘First Steps’ depiction of real people, real emotions and real scenarios, we’re showing today’s youth that you don’t have to have it all figured out from the beginning to make an impact.”

One video in the “First Steps” series depicts young recruits, each from a different ethnic, racial and cultural background, leaving their families and coming together on a bus headed to basic training. Another shows new soldiers receiving their first Army of One star patches, while in a third video a young tank operator fires her first successful shot.

The Army will also air the ads in Spanish, according to Defense One.

“We want America’s Army to look like America,” Mavridis told the outlet.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told Congress in May she expects the service will not meet its goal of 65,000 new recruits for fiscal year 2023, which ends on Sept. 30.

Initial results from the new ad campaign will not likely be seen until December or January, when the service can measure how many viewers submit their information to the Army recruiting website or contact a recruiter to learn more about joining, Mavridis told Defense One.

The first wave of ads, the “Be All You Can Be” campaign that went live in March, has proven successful, he added. Data collected internally by the Army showed a 78% increase in brand recall, a commonly used metric in marketing that encapsulates how easily an individual can remember the group being promoted in the ad.

The Army pulled the ads within days of launching the campaign after actor Jonathan Majors, who appears in the ads, faced accusations of domestic violence. Mavridis told Defense One the Army does not plan to re-air the ads.

Army officials accelerated the release of subsequent ad series in the brand relaunch as the plummeting recruiting rate began to impact the number of units the service can maintain, according to Defense One.

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