I wonder if the Army’s new slogan should be “Army Strong” or “Army Stretched?”

In its attempt to increase recruitment in the light of an unpopular war, the U.S. Army has abandoned its old "Army of One" slogan and adopted a new tagline, "Army Strong."

According to McCann-Erickson, which created the new campaign, "Army Strong" reinforces the desire of recruits to become physically strong as a result of their enlistment.

"The whole idea really embodies the spirit of U.S. Army soldiers, how they feel about the Army and what people who are considering joining the Army want from that experience," said Eric Keshin, COO of McCann Worldgroup.

Um, OK, well maybe some recruits do want to build their physical stamina as a result of enlisting. But, there have to be safer, less dangerous ways to add bulk and build cardiovascular fitness than dodging roadside bombs and snipers in Iraq.

With the daily horrific news reports that are flooding our airwaves, print journals and web sites, you’d think the Army would develop a slogan that either tells it like it is (and supports the patriotic sacrifices being made by our soldiers. Maybe something like "In it for the long haul") or admits that, according to most experts, the Army is undermanned and not able to "police" danger spots other than Iraq (so, maybe "Army Stretched" would make more sense. And that tagline might also attract recruits who are more interested in gaining flexibility than bulking up).

The strength and effectiveness of any slogan or positioning line lies in its credibility. That is, does it "ring true" with audiences? Based upon daily news reports, "Army Strong" doesn’t cut it and won’t accomplish the military’s goal of adding 80,000 new soldiers in the coming year.

So, unless there are hundreds of regiments of Arnold Schwarzenegger wanna-be’s just graduating from high school, I think the Army’s slogan will fall on deaf ears (and undersized biceps).

Thanks to Ann Barlow for this idea.

7 thoughts on “I wonder if the Army’s new slogan should be “Army Strong” or “Army Stretched?”

  1. Thanks Trish. Please understand that I’m not putting down the Army or a career in the Army. Quite the contrary. What I was pointing out was a new advertising campaign that is illogical and nonsensical in light of what’s happening in the world. I think we all salute the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. The salute I won’t give, though, is to the marketing genuises who came up “Army Strong.”

  2. At my recent class reunion, my class president shared with me his theory is that we are trying to become a military society. First we outsourced factory work, then technology, then service and now this is all we have left. It is his theory why people can’t spell, write and are ignorant to history. We are educating people so well anymore b/c we are building robots! I just thought I would share… But I have many relatives who joined the ARMY because they did not remotely do well in school, could not land a decent job and the ARMY they felt, gave them a future. So far it has done them well.

  3. Ted: that’s a really good idea. On my way to Newark airport Monday, the Arrow driver was telling me about his experiences in the Peace Corps. He then proceeded to encourage me to join adding that, “Hey, it beats work.” While I certainly won’t be joining the Peace Corps anytime soon, it definitley was more persuasive than if I saw a commercial with a bogus tag-line.

  4. What a colossal waste of taxpayer money. First of all, the slogan they developed is incredibly weak and uninspiring. Second, I doubt this will have any positive impact on recruitment efforts.
    In my opinion, the Army shouldn’t spend a dime on advertising. All marketing dollars should be put towards a grassroots, word-of-mouth campaign that taps the network of veterans who can urge people to enlist with greater credibility than any advertisement or tagline.

  5. I’m not so sure it’s Bush’s unpopularity or a seemingly endless war that will turn people away from joining. Most of the people I know in the Armed forces are there because their family members were too. Even Lunch Boy took the ASVAB test when I was 18 and came pretty damn close to joining the Marines. Why? My Pop-pop was a Marine and I always admired what he had accomplished in the Pacific during WWII. Also, don’t these people join the Army to actually go to war and fight?
    I do agree that gaining new recruits is vital to our survival. I know it is apples and oranges, but things that are brewing in North Korea are pretty scary.
    As discussed last week Rep, I am joining the gym. Watch out Arny…

  6. A tagline has nothing to do with enlisting. If you want to enlist, you enlist. And right now, with Bush’s unpopularity and the seemingly endless war, not many people want to join the armed forces. Therefore, they should stop consuming their time thinking up new taglines and start thinking of a way to convince 21 year-olds like me that joining the army is vital to the country’s survival. I don’t know how they would do that, but I suggest steering away from taglines that tend to make me laugh instead of considering joining up.

  7. Well said, Rep. I can’t imagine that we’re going to solve our recruitment problems with any slogan, but surely appealing to people’s sense of patriotic duty is stronger than trying recruit based on getting into better shape. The latter is so disengenuous that it’s insulting to the sacrifice the Army and the country are asking soldiers to take. I expect more from our armed forces.