Since April, the military has been running television ads that target parents in order to boost the number of new recruits. With the ongoing war in Iraq, many parents have skeptical about the benefits of enlisting in the military and the Army reports that parents and teachers are 10% less likely to recommend military service than in the past and that only 1 in 4 parents would recommend military service to their children. Moreover, with some parents participating in counter-recruitment activities, the military has begun to realize that it is necessary to appeal directly to parents.
The ad campaign, orchestrated by Chicago-based Leo Burnett USA, began in April of 2005 and since that time the military has tripled the visibility of television spots targeting parents. The ads will run approximately 4,000 times between July and September and are expected to reach 58% of the “influencers” that impact the decision to enter the military. The military currently has a $350 million contract with Leo Burnett USA.
Traditionally, the military has not appealed directly to parents, but due to the success of counter-recruiting efforts that have barred access to some schools, the military is undertaking a variety of new tactics. Among its new tactics, the military is using video games as a recruiting vehicle and is developing a massive database to identify recruiters.