Visually and aurally, that is.
I went to see our own Minnesota Wild play hockey last night at St Paul's Excel stadium. Obviously, there is violence to be expected in this sport. Body slamming, puck whacking and yes, the occasional punch-up.
What I was not prepared for though was the pre-game ad spot for the National Guard, a joint effort by Kid Rock and some NASCAR dude. It's 2:36 of sheer testosterone, us versus them, and America hell yeah. I felt like I was watching a shoot 'em up video game.
Regardless of my personal opinions on the war, and American foreign policy in general, the messaging behind the ad simply highlights how dire things must be for military recruitment. For the U.S. military brand, the Hero archetype obviously makes the most sense, but let us not forget that this archetype's shadow/downside (ie when the archetype is taken to the extreme) is arrogance. And in this case, it's a very fine line.
I don't have the magical solution. The military has been recruiting for an extremely controversial conflict for a long period of time. People are more and more skeptical of our involvement with it, and of the human cost it brings. Perhaps the brand has no other choice but to try to energize potential recruits with blaring rock music and lyrics such as
So don't tell me who's wrong and right/ when liberty starts slipping away/ and if you ain't gonna fight/ get out of the way/ cuz freedom ain't so free when you breathe red white and blue/ I'm givin' all of myself cuz that's what I do.
Is there a better alternative?