Looks to Reverse Recruiting Shortfall

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CHICAGO ( -- Trying to reverse a recruiting shortfall, the Army National Guard is breaking a new ad campaign starting Oct. 1.

The campaign, called "American Soldier," features soldiers talking about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as community service in the U.S. The ads also emphasize rewards such as college tuition.

"The American Soldier campaign is an attempt at rebranding what the Guard is today vs. what it was 15 years ago," said Lt. Col. Mike Jones, deputy chief of strength maintenance for the Guard.

Print and Web
Print and Web work breaks Oct. 1 and TV spots break in January. The Guard also will run six-minute films in movie theaters.

The Guard currently has $42 million budgeted for the ad effort but hopes to receive an additional $18 million, Lt. Col. Jones said. The Guard will spend $48 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

The Guard's longtime ad agency, Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens, Arlington, Va., worked on the campaign.

5,000 recruits wanted
The National Guard said that for the fiscal year it's on track to reach 51,000 recruits, 5,000 short of its goal. That's partly because fewer active-duty soldiers are joining the Guard, knowing they could be shipped to a hotspot such as Iraq.

The Guard currently has 342,500 troops, about 98% of its goal.

Lt. Col. Jones said the Guard expects the new message combined with increased resources should help it get back on track.

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