Army of One Seeks Reinforcements With CD Effort

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Stretched thin from multiple missions overseas, the U.S. Army is testing a Web-linked music CD to entice high school juniors and seniors to join.


Part of Leo Burnett USA's ongoing Army of One campaign, the disc will serve as a lead-generation tool for the Army. It will link to the site at www.goarmy.com, enabling online communication and chats with recruiters.


"What the disc will do for them is to determine upfront whether or not a recruit is a viable enough candidate for the recruiter to spend time with," said Claudia Cahill, executive vice president of business development at Disc Marketing, the Pasadena, CA, creator of the disc.


The enhanced CD was mailed Aug. 29 to 15,000 qualified prospects in 40 states. Another 15,000 have been earmarked for requests from business reply cards in publications. Chicago-based Burnett rented the lists for the disc mailing and handled media buying.


On that disc are audio tracks from emerging artists like Joe Budden, Pillar, Cold and Saliva. These artists were selected for their resonance with the target high school audience. Not only is the music associated with the Army brand, but Pillar's lead singer is an Army Reserve member.


A key feature on the disc is the Smart Recruitment Tool, as Disc Marketing calls it. This lets a prospect complete and e-mail a personal profile to the Army's CyberRecruiting Station, thus starting a personal correspondence with local recruiters.


In addition, recruiters can use the enhanced chat function to highlight pertinent jobs and convey information in real time to prospects who are online.


The same CD lists descriptions of Army job categories and videos with vignettes from enlisted soldiers describing their responsibilities.


Finally, the disc has an Army Music Video Creator that lets individuals create their own videos to accompany audio tracks. Users drag and drop images from a preloaded selection with visuals associated with different groups and tasks in the Army -- intelligence, engineering, combat operations and so on.


Disc Marketing will monitor the success of the CD drop through next month. It will use its discMetrix system to provide information like the total number of disc users, average time spent in each section, the number of profiles created and information requests received. The findings will help hone the Army's future recruitment efforts.


"There are obviously a lot of high expectations for this plan, and the program will roll out next year," Cahill said.


The U.S. Army Accessions Command oversees recruiting and training of enlisted soldiers and officers for the force. A network of 12,000 military and civilian personnel promotes student leadership, citizenship and ROTC programs at schools.


The Army allocates a substantial budget yearly to stock the pool with fresh recruits. It combines television, direct and interactive marketing, events and customer relationship management techniques to lure them.


"They're a major brand, probably spending at the level of Coca-Cola," Cahill said. "They spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on advertising, and so their issue is not awareness or impressions. It's determining the viability of a recruit and the time that a recruiter should be spending with that potential recruit."


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