Burnett, Army Keep Pitching Parents

CHICAGO Leo Burnett continues to target the adults who might make or break a recruit’s decision to enlist in the U.S. Army in four new television spots breaking Monday.

The spots from the Publicis Groupe agency in Chicago continue a tactic launched during last year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament that discussed the values and training one would receive in the Army. The spots targeted parents, rather than potential recruits, under the rationale that a father or mother could make or break a recruiting decision.

“When young adults are making the decision to join the Army, there is no one they seek approval from more than their parents,” said Col. Thomas Nickerson, director of strategic outreach for the U.S. Army, in a statement. “Because of this, it is important we engage in a dialogue with parents to further educate them about the tangible and intangible benefits of a career in the U.S. Army.”

The spots depict teenagers talking to their parents about the benefits they receive from the Army, such as college tuition. One ad presents a father praising his son for the ways he’s changed after completing basic training. “You did two things you’ve never done before,” says the father to his son. “You shook my hand. Then you looked me square in the eye.”

The spots conclude with the line, “Help them find their strength,” and retain “Army of one” as a tagline.

The Army has had trouble recruiting new enlistees recently. It fell short of monthly recruitment goals in February and March. The Army had not missed a monthly recruiting goal since May 2000.

After reviewing its account last year, Burnett was granted a six-month reprieve through June of this year. The future of the account remains on hold.