The Army this week unveiled animated recruitment advertisements that highlight women, minorities, immigrants, and the LGBT community in an attempt to recruit Generation Z.
The series feature five real soldiers’ stories as animated short-films.
There is a black female singer following in her Vietnam veteran father’s footsteps; an Asian male who doubted himself but became a helicopter pilot like his father; a Latina female and daughter of immigrants who had a rough childhood but found her calling in the Army; a Haitian immigrant who joined ROTC to avoid gym class but found something more meaningful; and a white sorority girl whose lesbian mothers’ experiences led her to seek out her own adventures.
The advertisements conspicuously do not feature white males, despite whites and males constituting the largest demographic of the Army, according to Army 2020 statistics.
WATCH: U.S. Army releases a new recruitment ad that highlights an LGBTQ parade, a lesbian wedding, and woman with two moms who joined the Army to "shatter stereotypes" pic.twitter.com/rv9a1IOVmH
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Army Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, the Army’s chief marketing officer, told news outlets that the Army’s biggest challenge is connecting with Gen Z.
They are “more and more detached from the Army and the military in general than any generation in recent history; they have fewer people they know who serve, fewer moms and dads who have served. We’re kind of this distant star that lives tucked away in these army bases, in isolated environments,” Fink said, according to AdAge.
The Army selected the soldiers from a pool of 100 applicants from around the world that represented “as diverse a mix as possible,” AdAge reported.
The new advertisements are part of the Army’s effort to modernize its marketing. The service moved its marketing division from Washington, D.C., to Chicago in 2019, selecting DBB Chicago for a $4 billion dollar contract.
The advertisements are reminiscent of the CIA’s new recruitment ads that strive to highlight the racial and gender diversity of the CIA’s workforce.
Launched in the last several months under the Biden administration, they feature agents talking about their personal backgrounds and struggles. The ads feature a young black woman, a disabled white woman, a gay white man, and a Latina immigrant mother.
“I am a woman of color. I am a mom. I am a cisgender millennial who’s been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise,” the Latina woman says in one ad.
Republicans and some Democrats are criticizing the CIA’s ads.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former CIA official, said recently on HBO’s Real Time that the ads underestimate young people and she did not understand who the ads were trying to target.
“I don’t know who they’re trying to appeal to. Because the people that I know who are interested in working to serve their country are interested in the mission that is bigger than themself,” she said.
“I have a lot of young people who work for me. I spend my time with a lot of young people. And I just think that this misses the mark. I think that they are underestimating the average young person,” she added.