Strength is the theme of the new U.S. Army campaign breaking Nov. 9 to replace the "Army of One" push. "There's strong, and then there's Army strong," says a video from McCann Worldgroup explaining the new theme. "The strength to do good today. The strength to do well tomorrow. There is nothing on this green earth that is stronger than the U.S. Army."
Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced the campaign as part of a speech today at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting. The new campaign "speaks to an essential truth of being a soldier" and highlights the transformative powers of the Army, he said in a statement.
10 months in the making
The announcement comes 10 months after Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann was named to replace Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA. The Army has continued to use Burnett's creative.
Eric Keshin, McCann Worldgroup's worldwide chief operating officer and regional director North America, denied reports the campaign was long in coming due to disagreement over strategy between the agency and the Army. He said McCann formally took over the account in the spring, and research and creative development took some time.
"This is the next step in the evolution," he said of the new effort. "The times have moved on, and we need to reflect that and have a campaign that will motivate." He said the new campaign highlights the physical and emotional strength the Army can provide recruits.
$200 million on marketing
The Army spends more than $200 million annually on marketing -- the biggest ad contract in the federal government -- and a big chunk of the money goes to sponsorship, brochures, posters and other unmeasured media activities. The exact amount depends on Congressional budgets.
The Army said the new campaign was developed to specifically address not just those considering an Army career, but family members and friends of potential recruits. Since the start of the Iraq war, the U.S. military's advertising increasingly has focused on convincing parents and peers that the choice of a military career is a good one.
While TV for the campaign launches Nov. 9, new print won't begin until next year.
The ads were unveiled today as the Army released year-end recruiting numbers showing it exceeded by 635 its goal of recruiting 80,000 soldiers, a 7,000-soldier increase in the Army's target from last year. The Army has added a number of recruiters and offered bonuses to students for entering the Army.
The Army said 2,600 of the new recruits came in as a result of lower aptitude standards, and there was a slight increase in the number of recruits accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests and drunken driving.