The Pentagon's new hard sell
October 18, 2005
This San Francisco Chronicle article on the new military PR campaign to raise recruitment levels reveals why 'desperate' is the new 'creepy':
In all of the four TV commercials released Monday, the camera takes the point of view of the parents. Shot in the no-frills style of a public service announcement, each ad features a teenage boy or girl looking directly into the camera and pleading the case for joining the military.
The parents are silent, their gaze occasionally wandering to a child's bicycle in the yard, or to their hands fumbling nervously with a salt shaker, or to people gathering on a street corner. Stockwell said this was meant to convey the awkwardness of the conversations.
"Mom, you know how I love being on the water, right? How I love the environment?" a young man asks his mother as they talk on their back porch. "I can be part of an environmental response team working on oil cleanups and stuff. I'm serious about this.
"So what do you think?" the young man asks. A voice-over urges parents to "make it a two-way conversation" and points them to the military's Web site. [LINK]But as even ad execs quoted in the article point out, the Pentagon fails to address the number one concern of every mom or dad: keeping your kid alive. War tends to make that task a tad more difficult.