The U.S. Army is using Veterans Day as an opportunity to launch a new recruitment initiative and microsite, to inform young people about what a day in the life of a soldier is like.
The “Army Strong” campaign consists of television spots and several interactive components. The latter include a new microsite at goarmy.com/strong, a new version of it’s “America’s Army: The Official U.S. Army Game,” and a renewed focus on creating relationships with Google, Yahoo, YouTube and even MySpace, according to Paul Boyce, a public affairs specialist for the US Army at the Pentagon.
The microsite contains video profiles of a number of real-life people in Army jobs. They include Private Matthew Bryan; Captain Jeffrey Kiki, a family practice physican; and Tanya Forbes, Army mom. Interactive features let visitors explore specific army careers or chat with St. STAR (Strong, Trained And Ready), a virtual guide to Army life. The Sgt. STAR module recognizes keywords typed into a chat window and responds with appropriate information in text and voice-over audio, for instance about basic training or tuition benefits.
“What we’re trying to do is capture… detailed information and facts about the Army, and give a young person the ability to find out more on what they’re interested in,” said Boyce. “[The campaign is] designed to reach young people between the age of 18 and 25, and the people that inform your important first career choice, which is mom and dad, a coach and clergy. The Internet is the way that young people tell us they get their information and do their research and form their decision.”
The Army chose Veterans Day to launch the campaign partly to raise awareness of the national holiday, as many older veterans have passed away, says Boyce.
“Demographically fewer and fewer people have served in the armed forces since the World War II conflict. As those veterans of the military are dying in large numbers, that’s a great deal of information that is lost with them,” said Boyce, who acknowledges the Iraqi War is a serious consideration The Army has to discuss with recruits. “We are addressing the ongoing war. It’s import that we are realistic about that. We are working to make sure the soldiers are well trained to avoid the loss of life. Obviously with the nature of war such things are unavoidable.”
The Army worked with agency McCann Worldgroup on the campaign.
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