Thursday, October 12, 2006

Army Strong

RTO Trainer got me squared away - so here is what we mean by Army Strong.



This little clip effected me deeply. In it, I saw so much of what I was 20+ years ago, what I have done since I enlisted back then, what the Army means to me, and, perhaps, a glimpse of what I still may become.

PREVIOUSLY: See this.

UPDATE: This goes with it...

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR THE SONG DOWNLOAD - Click HERE and look on the right side of the page.

46 Comments:

Blogger Inner Prop said...

Ooh! Me LIKE! I actually had tears in my eyes (when they showed the old Vet).

Damn. War do bring out the best in PROPagandists, don't it?

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powerful! What a wonderful tribute to our brave men and women.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really really powerful. I think this has the potential to be a much stronger campaign than the "Army of One" promos.

It really amazes me that you can be an American and not have a great sense of reverence not just for our troops themselve, but for the noble tradition of the US military.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Definately captures the indomitable American spirit and shows why Americans put trust in the fine men and women who volunteer to serve our nation.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it needs a shot like this:

THE STRENGTH TO TAKE PUNISHMENT...

Cut to an IED-wounded Soldier gritting his teeth as he's airlifted in a gurney.

AND TO TRANSCEND IT

Cut to the same Soldier in rehab, hands dug into a railing, gritting his teeth as he learns to walk again.

It's a way of honestly conveying the horrible sacrifice many Soldiers are paying now-- and acknowledge their heroism for doing it.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

Go to Illini 6. I've got a lot more to say about this and I don't want to use up too much of Major John's dime.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Cineris said...

I watched it twice now. Honest criticism:

This is a 2:30 spot. That's long, and my feeling is that this campaign takes too long to set up. How well will something like this stand up as a 30s spot? Not very well, I think. It's pretty telling that the spot spends 20+ish seconds going through a dictionary definition to justify the unusual locution of "Army Strong."

In general I felt like the words on the screen were not matching up well with what I was seeing in the images. That is to say, the words were the weak part of the composition. "The strength to get yourself over / the strength to get over yourself" in particular felt jarring because the "get over yourself" is not only too colloquial, but it seems like a veiled insult.

Overall, I did think it was a pretty moving piece, but more because I have so much respect for the men and women who serve than on its merits alone.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Pixie said...

I certainly didn't expect to be teary eyed and choked up by it.

DAMN that is powerful stuff.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

Cineris - you have pointed out one thing that probably subtly slipped by many folks. This is a "concept" video - many of the shots are recycled bits of old ads. The word parts and intro are primarily for internal consumption - I am just trying to get a little broader view of the concept as whole, and you have helped with your observations, thank you!

9:47 PM  
Blogger CSMBones said...

27 years in and I just signed up for 3 more. I'm easy, I signed without the new commercial and no bonus. North Korea....I knew if I stayed in long enough I may get a chance to finally kill a few Communists. I kill a communist for fun...but for a green card, I'm gonna carve him up real nice.

Tony Montana

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Some Guy in Chicago said...

Overall pretty good, but two minor quibbles-

1) I don't know how much I like the "with all due respect to websters..." part. First, it seems a little too persuasive-essay-y to fit the ad, and I also think it could play as anti-intellectual (not intentional, I'd suspect).

2) The phrase "green earth" seems awkward. I'd just use "earth".

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Thought it worked pretty well, but one thing I'd change is the timing for the text to fade out of the black -- It was too slow, and it became distracting because you had to wait to read it. I'd bring it up about 8-10 frames quicker and hold the text for an extra 4-6 frames. Those are estimates using 24 frames per second. (I've timed a ton of animation, in case you're wondering.)

Another thing, the tone is serious, and it works, but some smiling faces and/or a touch of good natured camaraderie would have been nice. The guys helping the faltering soldier over the obstacle course wall was good, but you couldn't see any expressions. I'm not talking big high-fives, just some indication that there might be some good times and friends to look forward to as well. Again, keep it subtle...just a little something to broaden the mood a bit.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Al Maviva said...

That's really powerful. They missed only one important thing, "The strength to unselfishly sacrifice yourself for others."

You know the visual that goes with that one. This is along the lines of anonymous' suggestions. Put that in there and it takes it out of "propaganda" or "ad" category and puts it into the "unflinching truth" category. I'm not sure I'd want to see a recruiting ad that powerful, however.

4:18 AM  
Blogger Claymore06 said...

Good music, nice build to the crescendo.

Nice photography... zoom-ins and the washed out color evokes old photos and (I suspect) intentionally mimics "Band of Brothers," et al.

Problems: 1) Show more of the "do good" and "build it up" juxtapose it with the "tear it down" imagery of combat power. Embrace the dichotomy of an army that builds up and defends our friends while destroying our enemies. This is an implicit play off the theme evoked by our Marine brothers' slogan "No better friend; No worse enemy."

2) While I have a lot of respect for GEN Casey, no-one else will know who he is... and a 50+ year old is not someone that young potential recruits will relate to. Instead show some young NCOs and junior Officers... maybe some Silver Star recipients? - in command and giving orders.

I agree with the comments on the time to define the slogan. It seemed a bit like building a thesis argument.

These are mostly tight, close up shots, which is good for the personal feel of the image. But show at least one pull-back wide-image shot of massed combat power - 11th ACR? - on the move... show how the individual strength aggregates to Army strength.

I also agree with the poster who suggested a shot of the ultimate sacrifice. We're at war. Don't sugar coat it. Juxtapose it with some WWII shots of sacrifice to show context, maybe?

5:57 AM  
Blogger Pablo said...

It's a good concept, though I agree with the criticism of the slogan. My first impression upon hearing it was "Huh?" While I see what they're going for, I don't think it will translate well in a short ad.

But anything that includes "The strength to get over yourself" gets a thumbs up from me. We're lacking that.

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For shorter spots (30 sec., etc) the "Army Strong" concept could be broken down to the individual strengths mentioned in this longer clip, i.e., starting with "phsyical" strength, then a couple of weeks later come out with "emotional" strength, & so on.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The music makes the ad. Who composed it? Give him a medal.

One small quibble: the final line, after "The strength to do good today," comes the whole "do well tomorrow" tagline. Frankly, that sounds crass. After all the stirring images and words about nobility and sacrifice, the sudden naked appeal to greed is an awful anticlimax.

Trimegistus

8:25 AM  
Blogger RetiredSpy said...

I had some serious and heartfelt tears in my eyes too.

Thanks, Major John

God Bless America and those who have made so many personal sacrifices to keep us all safe.

RS

9:09 AM  
Blogger Subsunk said...

Not a damn thing wrong with this ad. Spend the money to get it on the important time slots.

If you don't want to serve your country after this ad, then you can't fog a mirror.

Subsunk

PS,
Still my favorite recruiting ad line of all time is "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of All Who Threaten It...."

But I'll live with Army Strong.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous 19kilo said...

Major John,

I like the concept. I'm a veteran from the "Be all that you can be" days of the Cold War. I'll offer my quibbles with the concept spot below, but I think that a 2 word slogan could be effective enough to find it's way into the vernacular if the brass is cunning enough with their marketing message. Given that the slogan is short, I think that the presentation, when taking to video or radio, should be equally short. "Army strong" is not a phrase the should require much elaboration.

Okay, my quibbles with the spot. I did read the caution that this is just a concept bit, so I'm sure it will get polished and shortened into nice 30 or 15 second spots.

Skip the first 27 seconds or so: you don't need 'em. TV is a visual medium, so use that in the context of the ads. Besides, everyone in your target audience already knows what "strong" means, so the screen time is wasted.

If you absolutely, positively, must begin with text, just use the:

"There's strong ..." [static photos of bodybuilders, earth moving equipment, pro athletes, whatever]

"... and there's Army Strong" [very rapid video cuts of tanks, soldiers in formation,, artillery firing, etc. should be just POW POW POW image after image of awesome military strength]

Better yet, skip the text, go with a voice-over instead of text shots so the audience don't have to read the ad, they can just react to it. In 6 seconds of video with voice-over, the whole concept can be communicated. The "There's X, then there's MODIFIER X" construction is common enough in spoken English that the audience will get it without the lengthy text about the dictionary definition. The entire "Army Strong" concept could be conveyed in 15 seconds, ending with www.armystrong.gov or whatever the recruiting URL is.

I'm not sure I agree with the folks who want to see a shot of a flag-draped coffin in this ad. Yes, we owe our freedoms to those who have fought and died for them. I'm not sure, though, that a recruiting ad is the place to make that observation. It muddies the message. I think a recruiting ad should not have a 'die for your country' message. If anything it should have Gen Patton's 'make the other poor dumb b*****d die for his country" message, especially if the slogan is "Army Strong". [could we have footage of terrorists dying ignoble deaths in combat?] If you absolutely, positively must include a recognition of our noble military dead, a shot of the Old Guard at the tomb of the unknowns would be appropriate.

The same applies for the suggestion that we have footage of a soldier recovering from combat wounds. There is a time and place to recognize them and thank them, even to revere them. A recruiting ad isn't that place.

Enough quibbling. I think the concept is vastly superior to the crappy "Army of One" slogan of the past several years. The weakness of that slogan, IMO, was that it played to modern selfishness and self-absorption, the very antithesis of selfless military service and discipline, and the absolute last thing we need in wartime. Bleh. "Army Strong" is a great slogan.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Charlie [Louisiana] said...

Viet Nam era vet; son of a WWII vet; father of an OIF vet.

This is a great ad. I agree with the posters who want to add something about the strength to sacrifice yourself for your comrades and country. The idea about the WIA and rehab shots of the same soldier is especially powerful.

I don't have a problem with the length, but it could get off to a faster, more attention-grabbing start.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Kempermanx said...

Great Ad, but I agree with Cines, It is TOO long, unfortuately it needs the time to make the points. I thought the music was straight out of Lord of the Rings. Expected to see the White Wizard come over the hill at any time. Also thought it had too many women in it. I know we are recruiting women and minorities hard, but wonder if showing the lack of physical strength of the girl, failing her climb is the right message?

9:59 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Thanks everyone - this is the kind of feedback I was looking for...constructive criticism and pointing out what works well.

I will see what the PA branch wants as far as info from us out here, and I will incorporate many of these remarks into what I send.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Lonevoice said...

OOH FREAKIN' RAH!!!!!!!!!

God, I'm turning 50 soon, and I'd give almost anything to be green and 17 and have all of it ahead of me again.

Getting old sucks. Watching those guys jump out of the back of that sh*thook...the 130's, hell, even out the side door of a 141. Being with your buddy,no your BROTHER,(and now sisters, what with all the support troops being so close)
there's nothing to replace that.

That commercial way really cool, and a good way top start the day, although it's bittersweet.

Off to my G*Damn office now...

10:31 AM  
Blogger DANEgerus said...

It plays better at 425 x 350
;)

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

heh, I bet anonymous got all self-righteous about pep rallies at school too.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Major John said...

Anon - I had asked at other sites for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. I guess you didn't get the memo.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:05 PM  
Blogger maggie katzen said...

wow, anonymous, were you drafted?

or am I missing how an ad somehow keeps you from living your life?

2:58 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Anon - go be profane and nonconstructive elsewhere.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd gladly voice my opinions elsewhere if you'd take your propaganda off my tv for good.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

My propaganda off your TV? Have you seen this on "your TV"? It must be a very, very special TV to show something that won't even come out, on the networks until November 9th...

1:57 PM  
Blogger maggie katzen said...

well, Major, he does still have to watch...er, i mean, he might see part of one of those Army of One ads before he can find the remote.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

Anon,

If you're really concerned about it you shouldn't be mad that the commercials are on TV (anyone and everyone should turn off or away from things they don't like). You should be mad that your tax dollars paid for the ad.

Take what is apparently very powerful anger and put it to good use: vote, work with a campaign you agree with, run for office yourself. Don't send childish and (apparently) profane comments to Major John.

We fought for you to have a free country, use it.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Citizen Deux said...

WOW. I may have to switch services! Very nice. It's about time we linked the words GOOD and US Military.

My favorite t-shirt is one from Brigade Quartermasters - it says simply, the United States of America - Home of the Good Guys.

Go ARMY!

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Russ said...

So, what is that music? Was it composed specifically for the video?

At times, it sounds like the music from Gettysburg or Gods and Generals.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey gents. The music was composed by Hans Zimmer and Mark Isham. I know because I talked to a guy involved in the video part of production. I saw the video before it became "public" at AUSA in Washington DC.

-Some guy who writes music for the Army.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where might I be able to get a download of that song?

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how one can obtain the music in the ad? Perhaps someone with the capability can rip it from the video? I'm sure many people would appreciate that, the music is so good!

9:18 PM  
Anonymous SPC Lloyd said...

Hey sir, I especially like the picture of the scared privates getting shots at reception.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Sgt Lawler said...

This is the site where you can download the Army Strong music free in many formats.

http://www.usaac.army.mil/sod/

-Sgt Lawler

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking for the Army Strong music for a long time. Thanks Sgt. Lawler.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

網頁設計,情趣用品店,情趣用品專賣網

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just gotta ask.... If the Army is so strong then why do they need the Navy out here to work on CRAM?? and to run Detainee ops? and all the Tomahawk support they were calling for....

10:08 PM  

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