Army Ads Get an Ironic Facelift

| January 29, 2001

Army Ads Get an Ironic Facelift, David Corn, Alternet
Be all you can be? Not anymore. Trying to appeal to an individualistic generation weaned on Doom and Streetfighter, the U.S. Army has a new advertising slogan. Welcome to 'an Army of one.' In a recent article on the Alternet news service, columnist David Corn dissects the Army's new marketing approach (and a $150 million ad campaign to back it up). 'Like its predecessor, this pitch fixes on the individual -- an odd choice for an organization in which recruits are supposed to sublimate themselves to the larger good of the institution.' Sure, the Army's ad agency -- Leo Burnett USA -- 'had to concoct a nifty way of selling their client to Generation Y, many of whom have been raised on a diet of Internet individualism.' But ironically, says Corn, the new slogan may be closer to the truth of how the Army treats its soldiers than they realized. Corn points out the Pentagon's denial of responsibility for soldiers' health problems resulting from Agent Orange in Vietnam, nerve gas in the Persian Gulf, depleted uranium in the Balkans, and pesticides sprayed on Colombian coca fields -- all of which, he says, are evidence that the U.S. military has long 'treated its grunts as armies of one that could be disavowed or tossed aside.'
--Leif Utne
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