Army Uses Game-Like Experience and Video to Woo Recruits

  |  April 3, 2009   |  Comments

Virtual army post augments "Strength Like No Other" campaign.

The U.S. Army is augmenting its "Strength Like No Other" campaign, which includes the Army Strong TV spots, with a virtual army post that walks visitors through a tour of various jobs available to recruits.

"A World Like No Other" is an experience on that uses CGI animation and short videos to let Web users browse a variety of jobs available to Army recruits. Visitors to the site, which debuted in March, click on hotspots that lead to one- to two-minute videos detailing Army jobs that range from astronauts to tactical operations.

"The idea for the virtual world is to show why the Army is unlike any other fighting force in the world," said Michael Jacobs, executive creative director at MRM Worldwide/NY, the division of McCann Worldgroup that created the site. MRM worked with Smuggler, which shot the videos and Click 3X, which produced the animation. "The site is a prospecting tool that shows the range of opportunities and technology available within the army in a way that makes an indelible impression on the prospects."

The experience is designed to appeal to 17- to 21-year-olds. Multiple layers of animation and video combine to enhance the experience for young viewers. The site opens to show two helicopters flying over a barren field. Click "Explore now" and the helicopters fly over the Army post, which flickers with hotspots that have video teasers above them. These can be clicked to view additional CGI footage and webisodes. "We created something that starts from the point of the helicopter and each time creates a journey," said Steve Tozzi, creative director at Click 3X. "It's like a photorealistic video game that allows them to go into areas they can explore and it segues into the videos."

The webisodes, directed by Henry-Alex Rubin for Smuggler, were filmed at Army bases at Fort Carson, Colorado and Fort Knox, Kentucky. They provide graphic footage of Army jobs in the words of the soldiers who hold them, from the astronaut who envisions flying to the moon to ordnance disposal specialists who's job is to detonate explosive devices that pose a threat to soldiers. Click 3X used Maya and Flame to create the 3D CGI animated segments.

"They're aiming at consumers who are being bombarded with content," said Paul Verna, a senior analyst at eMarketer. "Video is one way to make it happen and they're using it creatively to rise above the clutter. It's appropriate for the audience they're targeting and something mainstream media sites might take a look at."


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