Ex-U.S. Paratrooper Rips ‘Hideous’ Ad for ‘Modern Warfare 3’

D.B. Grady says celebrated spot 'trivializes combat and sanitizes war'

Author and former U.S. Army paratrooper D.B. Grady lays down some heavy fire in The Atlantic, blasting 72andSunny's hugely popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ad with Sam Worthington and Jonah Hill as hideous, tasteless, and perhaps even "deliberately offensive." Combining slapstick with state-of-the-art effects, the spot shows the combat-zone coming-of-age of "the Noob," played by Hill, and closes with the tagline, "There's a solider in all of us." It ranked among last year's most shared ads, with more than 20 million YouTube views. But Grady protests: "After 10 years of constant war, of thousands of amputees and flag-draped coffins, of hundreds of grief-stricken communities, did nobody involved in this commercial raise a hand and say, 'You know, this is probably a little crass. Maybe we could just show footage from the game?'" Grady's criticisms, while hardly new, are certainly valid, and his views are shared by many who have (and haven't) served. That said, the escapist, gung-ho, borderline-goofy approach seems well suited to promoting video games to the young male demographic. And the violent though admittedly sanitized action might even be slightly more indicative of the actual Army experience (and in some ways seems no crasser) than the military's rah-rah recruitment campaigns that tout technical training and college tuition while steering clear of bloodshed and body bags. Grady decries the spot as disingenuous. But in fact, the ad accurately reflects how the vast majority of us will participate in warfare. We'll be sitting on our backsides, safe in our homes, absorbing sounds and images via high-definition screens. Today, there are soldiers in almost none of us. 72andsunny declined to comment on the Atlantic article.