Army misuses DVDs (?)

From today’s Newsday’s Letters to the Editors

So now, Army recruiting is executing “this administration’s backdoor draft.”

Listen, Becky, while you might disagree with the reasons the US went to war with Iraq (I do too), Army recruiting is not new to this administration. Or the previous one, or the one before that, and so on. You might be surprised to find out, even in times of peace and/or when a democrat resides in the oval office, our military forces recruit. And just like any advertiser, they are looking for ways to put their product in front of the eyeballs of potential customers.

Becky, consider yourself the recipient of a big ol’ Car Talk Dope Slap, in addition to the fat lip you got by that insane knee jerk reaction. You’ve earned it.

Military recruitment campaigns are handled by tree-hugging communist Madison Avenue liberal-media lesbian atheist advertising agencies anyway, not “the military.”

Ten bucks says nobody in uniform actually knows, or cares about, the specifics of their promotional distribution deals. Outsourcing, baby. It’s the wave of the future. As long as it’s not to India.

Seems like they’re getting desperate these days.

friedo, most of the marketing weenie I’ve met are the Spawn of Satan, and thus cannot be atheist. The rest rings true.

And for any marketing weenies reading this, yes, I meant you! :stuck_out_tongue:

It pays the bills.

But commercials for Pepsi at the movies are OK, and McDonalds food in the school cafeteria is OK, and a bunch of other promotional shit before the DVD starts (which can’t be fast-forwarded over) are OK, and a bunch of product placements in the actual movie are OK…

So the army’s advertising. In other news…

I see a difference. My tax dollars are not supporting McDonalds and Pepsi ads. Furthermore, although a recruitment ad might not be blatantly pro-war, it sure seems like it promotes that agenda. Once again, our tax dollars at work.

On a related subject, is everyone aware that all of the U.S. armed services except the Coast Guard provide weekly or bi-weekly half-hour TV shows free to any community cable TV station that asks for it? They are slickly produced, and although they purport to be just “news,” they sure make the military look like a glamorous occupation.

For fuck sake, how can you possibly complain about recruitment advertising? Your tax dollars pay for it, yes. Who else should pay for increasing the size of the military. I don’t like the war, but I do realize that in order to have an army, we need soldiers, and in order to get soldiers, we need to recruit. I don’t want to join, and no matter how many advertisements I see, I won’t, so I could really give a fuck less how much advertising the military does.

Even Coney Island? The bastards!

Those ads are AWESOME.

When I dropped out of school, I seriously considered enlisting.

So I went to the recruiting office, and they asked me why I wanted to join the Army.

I told them that I wanted to pay for school and that I might as well see some of the world and learn to maybe blow shit up or maybe fly AWACS or some other cool stuff like that while I was doing it.

They were SUPREMELY happy to hear that (even happier when I got a 98 on that test they give you). So happy that they showed me a few videos, videos entitled “Adventure,” or “Challenge,” or somesuch.

Did they actually answer any of my questions? Not really. But BOY, did they have some cool videos!

Videos of soldiers in some swimming pool, in some hot springs, sightseeing, in classrooms, hanging out, etc.

No footage of the running, climbing, crawling, PT, KP, verbal abuse, boot camp, nothing. Being a soldier looked cooler than Disneyland. And that, to me, seemed a little fishy. So they didn’t get me.

But then again, I had options. Some people might not, and might be willing to overlook the hell you go through to become a soldier. Or some people might just want to become a soldier. Or some people might get tricked by all the fun and forget that serving your country is serious business.

But the long and the short of it is that our servicepeople are brave and dedicated people, either because they want to be or because they are made so by the process. And our country needs these people in times of peace as well as war. No matter how they enter the system, our soldiers and sailors are a necessary part of our nation. So I don’t care how they get into the system, as long as they do.

If giving out a free cookie and a glass of OJ was enough to get qualified candidates into our armed forces, then I would be a little ticked if they were handing out bars of gold. But I’m glad my tax dollars go to recruitment and I am glad that incentives are offered to the most viable candidates.

If more incentives and more training means fewer Pfc. Englands, then work my tax dollars harder, please.

So, if Gore or Kerry had been elected President, the recruitment ads would be promoting their agenda? Are you aware that recruitment ads didn’t start in 2000, or at the start of Gulf War II?

The military recruits, just like any other recruiter on a high school or college campus. Even in peacetime, the military needs a constant string of young bodies joining up. The military tasks its recruiters and its advertising agencies with reaching the prime incoming soldier segment. It is NOT political.

Of course the exact opposite will happen due to the lowering of requirements and standards. Because of our global stupidity, we’re forced to dip lower into the barrel in order to maintain troop levels. This will result in far more incidents of mistreatment.

Sorry to rain on your parade dude.

You’re not raining on my parade. You’re making the other side of my point.

England et al. were assigned to their postings with minimal or no training and little or no supervision.

Let’s assume that she was the bottom of the barrel in the new, wider and shallower recruiting pool.

I still say that better training and more thorough assessment would have put her where she belonged- which certainly was not “in charge of the welfare of prisoners.”

While military service can’t straighten everyone, it does do wonders with most. So you try to recruit the brightest (advertising), and, if your nets catch the dim alongside them, you train them and assign them, if not where they are needed, then where they can be used (training/assessment).

Is it a perfect system? Of course not. But then, if the Army were a rabidly popular career choice, they’d be turning applicants away. Since it isn’t, you build the machine with what you’re given and hope you can mold quality parts from the raw material that comes through your door.

Has something changed? Are they training people differently? If the answer is no, (I suspect it is) then we’ll still have the same problem.

The problem isn’t she’s the bottom of barrel, the problem is loosened regs towards qualification are going to suck even more trash in.

There are a finite number of tasks, and some people won’t be qualified for any of them.

I feel rather uniquely qualified to comment on this post, because I’ve been in the advertising business for 10 years and my very first account was U.S. Army Recruiting.

Unfortunately, there’s very little I can disclose in terms of specifics, but I will say that there are a lot of measures in place to ensure that advertising dollars are spent very efficiently. Among them are periodic agency reviews - the account is put up for review on a regular basis and if the incumbent agency can’t demonstrate that it is spending dollars efficiently, it WILL lose the account. I worked on it at Young & Rubicam and another agency called N.W. Ayer had the account before we did. Not too long after my departure from Y&R, the account was awarded to another agency. If agencies get too complacent or don’t deliver according to communications and recruitment goals, they won’t have a military account for very long.

Just in case you think that military advertising is the equivalent of the $10,000 toilet seat, it’s not. Without getting too specific, I can tell you that there are a number of procedures in place to ensure the government doesn’t pay more for its advertising than it needs to. They get much better rates than a lot of consumer marketing companies I know of.

Although I haven’t worked on the account in several years, it occurred to me that military recruitment advertising has to deal with difficulties reaching its target audience just as consumer marketers do. Over the past several years, the biggest problem is likely the fragmentation of the audience of young men and women, who have more media choices open to them than at any other time in history. In short, television, radio, newspapers and magazines have seen their audiences moving to other channels - the Internet, video games, home entertainment (like DVDs), movies, etc. So they need to use more channels to reach the audience they might have reached 20 years ago.

So it doesn’t surprise me that they’re doing deals to distribute literature through DVDs. It’s probably a very efficient way of reaching young people. As others in this thread have pointed out, it’s not as if recruitment advertising is a recent thing. It’s been going on for years. Since agencies have had to get a bit more creative about the channels they pick in order to reach the target audience, it might just be a bit more noticeable now.

I predict within 10 years they’ll be spamming for recruits.

Yes, I am. But that doesn’t make me like them any better. I didn’t like them in 1968, either. I think they make it easier for a president to pursue his war agenda; an agenda which is not mine, but which my tax dollars pay for.

I believe the purpose of our military is to protect our country, not find suicidal wars to fight elsewhere. If the president couldn’t gather enough troops to fight his personal battles, he would have a harder time waging war on others. Conversely, if this country were attacked, he would have an endless supply of willing volunteers, myself included.

It is very political. In peacetime, the manpower needs of the military have typically been met reasonably well from volunteers. It is only when the country’s leaders decide to pursue such outrageous ventures as Vietnam, Korea and the Gulf that they cannot find enough willing men and resort to the draft or other measures.

If you do not believe the video shows I mentioned are political, send me a mailing address privately and I will send you a copy of a recent DVD put out by one of the U.S. Armed services, as aired on local Cable Access TV Channels across the nation. Then you decide.

Why 1968? Why not 1960? Or do only Republican presidents have war agendas?

In peacetime, the military still actively recruits and advertises. And there was a period where the military was worried about not hitting peacetime force numbers.

I’ve seen a couple. They’re not much different from the ones from my “zoomie” (Air Force) days, which started as peacetime and covered Gulf War I and US/NATO involvement in the former Yugoslavia. They’re only more modern, selling to a different audience. They promote recruitment. Not war.

10 years?? The way Bush’s war is going, I’d give it 10 months.

Pick any year. Pick any president. Pick any war this country has been involved in since 1945. I am against it. Never once has our country been directly threatened. Fighting in Vietnam or the Gulf is the source of untold misery without much positive benefit.

The videos I am referring to, unlike the ones in the OP, are ostensibly produced as “informational” for the public, not primarily recruitment, although I’m sure they work both ways.

Here are some of the titles of segments on the Army Newswatch 8 October 2004 show:[ul][li]National Guard falls Short on Recruiting Goals[]Raids in Tikrit[]2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Re-stationing[]Iraqi PM Thanks Troops @ Pentagon[]Up-Armored Humvees at Aberdeen Test Center[]Iraqi Pharmacy Institute[]Oprah Throws Baby Shower at Campbell[/ul][/li]Here are some of the items you won’t see on these videos:[ul][li]People getting blown up, except Iraqis, who deserved it[]Amputees, except Iraqis, who deserved it[]Dead soldiers, except Iraqis, who are all martyrs[]Sensible debates with anti-war proponents[]Destruction caused by the Army in Iraq, except of those who deserved it[]Figures of the cost of war in human lives and dollars[]Damage to U.S. credibility world-wide[/ul]These are blatant propaganda films. They are not objective news reporting.[/li]
I happen to have in my collection of treasures and trinkets from Vietnam a magazine-sized publication I purchased in the streets of Saigon in the 1960’s. It was produced by a Viet Cong-sympathetic organization and, with excellent photography, shows smiling peasants eagerly preparing punji stakes and happily polishing guns that they hoped, God willing, they would be able to use against the invading U.S. soldiers as soon and as often as possible.

It is interesting to compare this media item to modern videos; not the producion details, but the overall impression. The media is different, the countries are different, the era is different, but the basic propaganda is amazingly similar. They glorify war but ignore the tremendous tragedy of it.

And that’s why I don’t like tax dollars used to recruit soldiers.