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Military Advertisements

Fine, I will.

When we see advertisements pop on YouTube (or any streaming service, for that matter) we desperately wait for the skip button to become available, counting down every second until we can watch what we want with semi-instant gratification. These advertisements range from food to car insurance, to music events. Anything that can garner money or notoriety will have an advertisement made for it. I’ve seen some great ads out there, and I have seen some terrible ones as well. The following link is to my favorite commercial of all time:

One of the most renowned pitchmen of all time is none other than the late Billy Mays, who seemed to host every infomercial when I was a little kid. I loved those commercials; I actually looked forward to them. Even later, I found out of these dubs that people made over Billy Mays infomercials that made them incredibly hilarious. Here is a link to my favorite dub:

In regards to the military, advertisements seem like the last thing that comes to people’s minds. An organization built around national service? Yeah, it’s on the same level as the Shamwow or Applebee’s. It’s true. Just like any organization looking to recruit members, the US military needs to broadcast to the televisions, phone and computer screens of the world. Specifically talking about the US Navy, who have recently changed up their branding, I think that the recruiting efforts have ranged from very successful to completely awful. The US Navy is somewhat unique in the fact that their recruiting efforts change depending on what the nation needs service members for. This call to action can range from patriotism to fight our country’s wars, to during peacetime, where the efforts of the recruiting advertise that the military is a good career for anyone to take up.

I do not know what this sailor is carrying but I have never looked that happy carrying anything in my dress blues.

In World War II, recruitment was not really needed as there was the Selective Service Draft from 1940-1946. Still, recruitment attempts were still made and were completely patriotism based. Service to the United States of America was the largest selling point, and it was well-received. Every young man was raring up to join the military – any branch – and the service in the war was an opportunity greater than the individual. The opportunity to be a part of the war for the US was seen as once in a lifetime, and it was. These recruitment efforts were very influential with the retention of many service members after the war and those who got out afterward saw their service as a valiant experience that will be remembered for all time.

No snark, the Navy has brought me to Florida, Germany, Poland, and Italy to name a few.

Let’s jump ahead to the 1980s. From 1979 to 1981, the US military had a diplomatic conflict between Iran, where 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage. A lot of conflicts began to emerge in the Middle East at this time, the most widespread being the Iraq-Iran war from 1980-1988. On May of 1987, the USS Stark was hit by two Exocet anti-ship missiles from an Iraqi aircraft, which further increased societal tension in the already controversial Middle East.

In these times of strife, the US Navy was not fighting an interstate battle, but small conflicts that were somewhat self-contained. These events in the Middle East did not affect the overall maritime operations of the US Navy, so a lot of the advertisements were pushing for the fact that the US Navy experience is an adventure, with the slogan “Live the Adventure”. Since the United States was a culture of televisions, the vast majority of advertisements came in the form of commercials. A lot of the pros of joining the Navy were the traveling opportunities; the ability to go all over the world and experience unique places and meet unique people (and kill them). These recruiting efforts were received somewhat cool. A lot of the poor recruiting efforts can also be attested to the conflicts of the US Military at the time, with the Vietnam war just a decade prior and the call to action around the globe seemed to be unneeded.

Today’s US Navy is a completely different culture than what it was 30 years ago. In an age of information technology and light-speed connection, the US Navy needed to change the goals and advertisements of the service. The slogan that the US Navy chooses today is known as “Forged By The Sea”. Similarly to the efforts in the ’80s, the US Navy is not under major interstate conflict and a lot of the advertisement efforts are showing that the Navy is a great organization to gain incredible job and life experience, while traveling the world. The mission for public affairs has always been the transparency of US Naval Operations, along with a healthy dose of recruiting.

In the age of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, these advertisements find their way in all aspects of social media. These advertisement videos get me hyped up and I think they’re really great, but that’s just me. What do you think about the new branding? Check them out:


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