Continuing on with an exploration of U.S. Armed Forces advertising.... Military Intelligence is an oxymoron, Part 1 is under that link.
The Air Force
While The Air Force's official .mil site is RSS heavy and more like a community bulletin, the recruitment website is the most high-tech and modern I've seen so far. It's modern in the same way “Tron,” is modern.
Its navigation borders on futuristic, making its tagline “It’s Not Science Fiction,” quite ironic. The center navigation is easy enough, leading to separate three-dimensional components for more information, a video game and other things designed to get you learning.
But it’s a bit confusing as there is also a drop down menu at the top. Like the Navy, they offer live chat. They have a Facebook button but no Twitter. It’s the least personable out of all the sites so far.
Their Youtube channel, is called AF Blue Tube. While their website as mentioned is very distant, the first communication to greet the viewer is entitled Service, Pride, Sacrifice.
It's about serving your country and family and how the former takes precedence over the latter. It then goes on to show families opening presents on their own, missed plays, and “countless other memorable moments that aren’t shared together.”
While I appreciate their honesty, it’s pretty depressing stuff. We don’t get into the flip side of sacrifice until the 4th minute of the 5 minute film. If I stumbled on the Air Force Website and wanted out check out more on Youtube, this greeting is not the best way to engage. Similarly, if I saw their youtube page first, and especially this video, I’d be looking elsewhere.
One of their tv spots from 2011 illustrates their It’s Not Science Fiction tagline, with a misdirect that makes one think it is taking place in a post apocalyptic world complete with heavy special effects only to then show they are really talking about today’s world.
Although really, it looks more like a tornado and giant sinkhole are destroying the Earth all Bruckenheimer like. And apparently the Air Force sends out giant numbers of Air Force Rescue airplanes and what seems like two-dozen people to rescue one person. So while it may not be science fiction, it does seem a wee bit over the top.
Again there seems to be an inconsistency between the social communication and the TV/Website communications.
Rank: Senior Airman.
Their official .mil site , while heavy on text, is also the most geared toward social media engagement. With every major social app represented, not to mention apps for iPad and Android front and center.
Unlike the other sites, this is more clearly defined as being a proper hub, albeit the usual utilitarian one with lot of links.
Their recruitment site is a much more visceral experience. Like the Army, the Marines showcase badass people doing badass things in slide show format. It’s another vertical scroller but it is essentially repeating the info three times in different formats. Tabs, photos and then text. There’s no live recruiter here either. If you want to be a Marine, it’s up to you to figure out how to contact them, got that soldier?
The Marines Youtube site is by far the best use of youtube out of all four. So much so they could dispense with their other sites and just keep this one. And they really, really should. Because by other sites, I not only mean the two listed above, but also Marines.com, Marineofficer.com Lifeasamarine.com, etc. Can anyone say dilution of brand?
Unlike the other armed forces which change their taglines like sweat socks, the Marines have steadfastly kept “The Few, The Proud, The Marines,” for more than fifty years. Maybe it’s because one kind of wants stability in the armed forces as opposed to “What about this? No? What about this?” More importantly, it’s one of those taglines that one can execute all day long. As this multi POV spot shows.
It’s not necessarily showing us anything we haven’t seen before. But it still gives a good taste of what it’s like in the Marines. The young boys at the beginning, running through the cornfield, all Field Of Dreams like, become hard-nosed men by the end. Ready to kill with their bare hands, live on grubs and blow stuff up.
The biggest fail here, besides the annoying clack-clack soundtrack is the fact you can email or IM the link to the spot, but trying to get the embed required a visit to ANOTHER youtube page called Our Marines. Really, guys?
Beyond the unnecessary amount of samey websites, the marines beat the other forces hands down with a consistent message. Semper Fi, dudes.
Rank: Sergeant Major.