Thursday, December 13, 2007

Uncle Sam Wants You, But Ads Target Mom, Dad

Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2007; Page B1

For the Army, it's out with "Be all you can be" and in with "Buy all you can buy."

The Army has been enlisting youths for decades by promising them money for college. Starting in January, it will try out a different sort of pitch in selected cities: offering up to $40,000 toward the purchase of a home or the creation of a business.

The Army's new plan is to win over "influencers" of potential recruits.

The new recruitment program, dubbed the "Army Advantage Fund," is meant to show parents and other adult "influencers" that Army service offers tangible benefits to young Americans. As the Iraq war continues, the Army is struggling to recruit enough new soldiers -- and such influencers are less and less likely to recommend military service to youths.

"If you want to get a soldier, you have to go through mom, and moms want to know what kind of future their children will have when they leave the Army," said Lt. Col. Jeff Sterling, the program's architect. "This is meant to answer that question in a tangible, concrete way." Read article