Army Recruiters Take Inspiration From Apple Stores

Army Recruiters Take Inspiration From Apple Stores

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The U.S. Army is stepping up its game in an attempt to boost sagging recruitment numbers with an experimental "concept recruitment center" built around simulators, videogames and other new marketing techniques.

The Army was inspired by the success of Apple Stores, which feature high levels of interactivity in their displays, special areas for presentations and free public workshops as well as other unusual retail techniques.

"In the past we've focused on traditional media vehicles," said U.S. Army CMO Edward Walters in a Brandweek report (via GamePolitics). "The millennial generation is used to engaging in interactive assets and we need to adapt to them."

He said the new recruitment office is meant to be less intimidating, describing it as "like walking into a NASA center."

The newly-designed facility will be built around three large simulators of the Apache and Blackhawk helicopters and the HMMWV (Humvee), with 270-degree wraparound screens that will allow prospective recruits to sample multiple positions in each vehicle. America's Army will also be available for play in a separate area of the center.

"It's getting tougher and tougher to do personal recruiting," said Robert Passikoff, president of marketing consultancy firm Brand Keys who is a former member of the military. "This is a way of engaging possible recruits in a way that may be get someone interested and eventually convinced. It makes a lot of sense given how the media environment has changed. It isn't just a matter of providing information, it is a matter of experimental outreach that is really able to provide a broader range of connectivity."

"We are trying to overcome preconceived notions," added U.S. Army marketing executive Major Larry Dillard. "People are generally surprised at the activities that you can do in the Army. We are trying to generate some kind of engaging experience that will give you an 'aha' moment."

At least one person thinks the new concept is a bad idea that will stir up more controversy than interest in joining the army. "With everything going on with the war effort, you think they would be a little more buttoned up. Right now there is nothing cool about the Army," said Richard Laermer, author of 2011: Trendspotting for the Decade. "I'll bet you that in a very short amount of time they will get rid of [the new centers] because of a public outcry. People are going to get mad about it."

Despite the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Defense Department said last week it had exceeded its recruitment goals for May with 5568 sign-ups, and also claimed to be "making a comeback in retentions."

The cost of developing and deploying the new center, which is due to be unveiled to the public in August, was not released. The Army reportedly spent $172 million in advertising last year, and $37 million in the first quarter of this year.

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$172 million on advertising? That's astonishing.

Things you can do in an Army? Like dying senseless through the hands of people who on their side have no choice cause it is the only way to fed their familys?

not really

nilcypher:
$172 million on advertising? That's astonishing.

Not really considering America spends billions...hell maybe trillions on the army. So I'm not surprised if they spend that much to promote people to join.

I blame video games for poor recruitment. Impressionable young cannon fodder who used to sign up for the action and adventure now gets all the action and adventure they want from the X Box. No matter how much money the army sinks into making video games the civilian game developers will top it in a year or less. I don't think adding video games to the recruitment center are going to solve the problem. Adding strippers to the recruitment center might. Young men have a glorious track record of doing stupid things for hot women.

Seriously, take a step back, and ponder the reality of a government spending so much money to get young people go kill other people in the world outside because of previous diplomatic fuckups.
And then you wonder why the other nations don't feel secure about one country which puts so much efforts into growing a powerful army.

Arbre:
And then you wonder why the other nations don't feel secure about one country which puts so much efforts into growing a powerful army.

It's more your bloodlust, and sometimes your pants-on-head retardedness when it comes to diplomacy.

And, wait, why aren't Jack Thompson and his ilk on this yet?

3....2....1....

Americas Army is resposible for all the deaths in Iraq

*boom headshot* jack thompsons respawns in..... NEVER!!

Arbre:
Seriously, take a step back, and ponder the reality of a government spending so much money to get young people go kill other people in the world outside because of previous diplomatic fuckups.
And then you wonder why the other nations don't feel secure about one country which puts so much efforts into growing a powerful army.

You say that like we're not the only country still playing by the rules set years ago.
Yeah, there are terms of engagement, but guess what, this super power we're building, doesn't run on random bombings of non-military buildings and people. You know, like the countries we go to war with.

I never liked the whole "tech-fest" recruiting style with all those computer games and simulators, it was like my intelligence was being insulted because the only way these people thought they could explain the military was through a video game, because our generation only speaks on one medium. When I joined it was because someone sat down and talked to me like a human being instead of having me play a "video game," and hope I'll assume that this 64bit one-road/one way only humvee drive through some city is just what I'll be doing in the Army.
And just in case you're wondering, its not.
Edit: Furthermore they try and pass these things off sometimes as 100% accurate representations of whatever machine you're controling. Like when I flew the UH-60 simulator and the only controls I had was a single stick, wow really guys? You know the last time I was in one of these I remember seeing a lot more controls, you know switches and shit all over the cabin. But hey what do I know.
Lastly if any of you remembering playing America's Army you'll remember the first training mission where the drill sargeant says something along the lines of "Please grab a weapon from the table appoach the firing position and face the range." They don't ask that nicely, and in fact I don't even think I was asked to do it, it was more like a threat on my life from what I recall.

TheNecroswanson:

Arbre:
Seriously, take a step back, and ponder the reality of a government spending so much money to get young people go kill other people in the world outside because of previous diplomatic fuckups.
And then you wonder why the other nations don't feel secure about one country which puts so much efforts into growing a powerful army.

You say that like we're not the only country still playing by the rules set years ago.
Yeah, there are terms of engagement, but guess what, this super power we're building, doesn't run on random bombings of non-military buildings and people. You know, like the countries we go to war with.

You're surprised that a country that has kept piling up armies, tanks, missiles and nukes since WWII gets targeted by populations which have been spoiled by a lack of diplomatic courtesy.
Tip of the day: Use nukes to cleanse those countries. It's the only way to be sure that no more buildings will get plane spammed.
More seriously, what I'm telling you is that using video games to recruit people to go kill other people is freaking scary, and the amount of money spent in these efforts is even more frightening.
The whole prospect of such "games" crawling into the video gaming culture which now shapes American teenagers is alarming. Check Escapist' article published like one or two weeks ago, to see what I mean.

 

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