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Preview: New Army ad campaign is ‘Something you’ve never seen,’ says the Army

Teaser imagery from the “What’s Your Warrior?” campaign. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)
November 01, 2019

The Army has struggled to connect with Generation Z – those born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s — but they are hoping to change that with a new advertising campaign set to release on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Dubbed “What’s Your Warrior?” the campaign is full of surprises and seeks to change the way Generation Z views the Army, according to the Army’s Chief of Enterprise Marketing, Brig. Gen. Alex Fink.

“This is something you’ve never seen,” Fink told American Military News. “It’s a completely different military ad you wouldn’t have expected from the U.S. Army.”

Below is a teaser image of the campaign provided by the Army to American Military News:

Teaser imagery from the “What’s Your Warrior?” campaign. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)

Prior campaigns “haven’t done the best job” of telling the Army’s story in the past, Fink said. It reinforced a combat-focused misconception that many people have of the Army.

That misconception is fueled by an “increasing civilian-military divide,” Fink said, referring to Generation Z having fewer family members who serve, which would’ve influenced their perception of the military. As a result, they “don’t know what it was like, and that leads to misconceptions of what service is like,” Fink said.

In fact, the Army says 50 percent of youth admitted to knowing little or nothing about service in the military.

“Combat isn’t the only thing we do,” Fink said. “We have to tell the story in a surprising way to get their attention.”

The campaign also combines immersive, epic storytelling like Generation Z is accustomed to in the movies of their generation. It uses deliberate choices such as colors, music, and transitions that will resonate with Generation Z.

The campaign was created by DDB, the first since landing a 10-year $4 billion contract in early 2019 to head the Army’s marketing and advertising efforts after the branch severed ties with McCann.

Fink stressed that the campaign isn’t about filling quotas or targeting certain career categories. Instead, it recognizes that individuals of Generation Z want to become the best versions of themselves, oftentimes in a context larger than themselves, so it aims to show them how they can do so in the Army.

The campaign will stay true in its portrayal of combat roles as it did in past campaigns, but it will show how other roles come together to support combat.

Fink said the campaign will show “various roles they might not expect to see in the Army.” Some of those include a biochemist, a cyber warrior, a signal soldier, as well as a combat soldier and aviator.

Generation Z is considered “the most diverse generation in U.S. history” with rapidly changing views that are less concerned with terrorism, as most of them grew up not remembering a time when the U.S. military wasn’t fighting in the Middle East, as Harvard Political Review explained.

Generation Z is driven by purpose and shaped by information and technology like no generation before it, however, and those are qualities the Army values.

“There are more than 150 roles, and we need the unique skillsets Gen Z possesses to fill them,” Fink said. “By focusing on the range of opportunities available, ‘What’s Your Warrior?’ presents a more complete view of Army service by accentuating one key truth: teams are exponentially stronger when diverse talents join forces.”