‘Starting Strong’ gives Army prospects a taste of soldiering

Story by the Army Marketing and Research Group
"Starting Strong," a 10- week, unscripted, backstage pass to Army life, premieres on FOX affiliates in 16 markets and on goarmy.com's YouTube channel, June 2, 2013. (Photo courtesy the Army Marketing and Research Group)

“Starting Strong,” a 10- week, unscripted, backstage pass to Army life, premieres on FOX affiliates in 16 markets and on goarmy.com’s YouTube channel, June 2, 2013. (Photo courtesy the Army Marketing and Research Group)

With the number of pre-recording services and commercial-free media options, traditional television commercials no longer reach key audiences as they did in the past, according to Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. In addition, research has shown that the Army’s recruiting demographic of 18-24-year-olds uses media differently.

Given that challenge, the Army Marketing and Research Group began exploring new and innovative ways to engage prospects and their influencers with content that realistically portrays the Army, Army life and the benefits of service.

“We have always known that our Soldiers are the best advertisement for our Army,” Davis said. “But it is difficult to show the lifelong benefits of joining the Army team while countering the many myths about our Army in a 30-second commercial. We needed a new approach that allowed a deeper and unscripted discussion with our key audiences.”

Starting June 2, viewers will be able to see the result. “Starting Strong,” a 10-episode, long-form commercial, will be broadcast in 16 markets and available nationwide on goarmy.com’s YouTube channel.

“Starting Strong” gives civilians interested in becoming Soldiers the chance to live and breathe a military occupational specialty for a week with an Army mentor and actual Soldiers, to determine if Army life is for them. At the conclusion of each episode, the prospect is asked if he or she wants to join the Army.

“Starting Strong” will air Sunday mornings, June 2-Aug. 4, on FOX affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa, Minneapolis, Orlando, Austin, Memphis and Gainesville. Check local listings for times.

After each airing, full episodes will be at www.youtube.com/goarmyvideos, while five-minute webisodes will be available on the goarmy.com “Starting Strong” page.