‘Army of One’ Is Here to Stay

Despite criticism from soldiers and ad executives, the U.S. Army will stick with its “Army of one” campaign, created by Leo Burnett. The Army credits the work with helping it meet recruiting goals.

“We will continue to push forward with ‘Army of one,’ ” said Maj. Gen. Dennis Cavin. “There is great value [in the line]. … ‘Army of one’ will succeed.”

The Army’s 2001 recruitment goal was 76,000, a number that has already been reached, Cavin said. He credited the ads and a Web site also developed by Burnett, www. goarmy.com, which gets 26,000 hits a day, for the recruiting success.

Burnett’s campaign replaced the 20-year-old tag, “Be all that you can be,” in January. Critics questioned the emphasis on the individual, and the ads met with internal resistance, Cavin acknowledged. But “Army of one” resonated with the target demo, 18-21-year-old males.

Burnett, which won the account in June 2000, is financially rewarded if the Army reaches certain recruitment levels. Cavin would not offer specifics, but said, “[Burnett] has achieved its goals and will get the financial incentives.”

While the Army’s recruiting numbers can be partly attributed to a slowing economy, Cavin said shifts in unemployment take 12 to 18 months before they impact recruiting levels. “We’re about six months out from seeing an impact,” he said.