WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army is quickly putting together some new recruiting ads to air during the final NCAA basketball games this weekend, after being forced to pull commercials that featured actor Jonathan Majors, in the wake of his arrest. last Saturday.
Army leaders were eager to feature the key elements in the ads, as a key part of their new campaign aimed at reviving the service’s faltering enlistment numbers — which fell well short of last year’s recruiting target. They believed the ads would benefit from Majors’ popularity
But this past weekend, they took the ads off the air when Majors was arrested in New York on charges of strangulation, assault, and harassment. New York City police said the actor was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old woman. But Majors’ lawyer, Priya Choudhury, said there was evidence exonerating Majors and that the actor “may have been the victim of an altercation with a woman he knew.”
Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, the Army’s chief of marketing, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that in the past week the Army was able to avoid any planned $70 million in ad-buying loss, either by postponing ads or replacing them with advance ones. Current commercials updated quickly.
Ads are set to appear on television, online on places like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on digital and physical billboards, including on buses. This ad buy was the main part of the campaign, which had a total cost of $117 million.
“We’re fully able to capitalize on the majority of what we’ve invested,” Fink said in an interview. “We think we’ll have some brand new creative announcements in time for Friday’s Women’s Final Four.”
He said the military had collected an “enormous amount” of content and footage for the two commercials—titled “Overcoming Obstacles” and “Paying Tomorrow”—which featured Major as the narrator.
“The majority of that content doesn’t have our main narrator. … So we have a lot of content to go back to, to create fundamentally new commercials, new ads, if we need to.” “The campaign is full of vitality ahead.”
The Army launched a new ad campaign earlier this month with a major event at the National Press Club as part of a plan to revive the People’s Army slogan “Be All You Can Be,” which dominated recruitment ads for two decades starting in 1981. The two new ads shed light on the history of The military and some of the many careers that recruits can pursue. They ran from the 12th of March until they were decommissioned on the 25th by the Army.
Last year was the Army’s worst recruiting year in modern history, falling 25% short of its goal of 60,000 recruits.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday raised the issue of the ads and peppered Army Secretary Kristen Wormott and Gen. James McConville, the Army’s chief of staff, with questions about how the service intends to fix its recruiting problems.
“I see you’ve had a little bit of bad luck with your Be All You Can Be commercial,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “I hope you cut out a new one and get it online ASAP. maybe.”
The Army has a number of new programs, Wormut said, including rewards and referral initiatives and a prep course for future soldiers that gives underperforming recruits an opportunity to take an academic or physical fitness course to try to meet enlistment standards.
“We try to do everything we can think of because this is a really fundamental thing that the Army has to solve if we are going to continue to be the greatest Army in the world,” she said.
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