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A/B Marketing Test for the Armed Forces: Hunks Versus Hip Hop

Published: July 31, 2008

Author: David Rodnitzky

Anyone who has watched a college or NFL football game has seen plenty of armed forces recruiting commercials. They usually show a burly young man doing something dangerous yet cool – like fighting a monster, flying a fighter jet, or driving a tank through the desert.
No doubt this has worked well at getting testosterone-full teenage boys to sign up for duty. But the services also need to find people who are willing to join for more than just the ‘adventure.’ They need a lot of people to do a lot of non-front line boring jobs. The action hero commercials don’t sell well to these recruits, I’m guessing.
This evening I was StumbleUpon(ing) when I came across a funny Navy video. At first, I thought it was just a few guys playing around, but after watching it all the way through, I’m convinced that this was a Navy-sanctioned, guerrilla-marketing style recruiting ploy. There’s just too many people and too much machinery involved in this video for it not to be an official production.
Yet the production style is very much in the area of DIY YouTube videos. So there was clearly an intent to make this seem like it wasn’t official at all. The fact that its showing up on StumbleUpon suggests to me that the video is having the intended viral impact. And I think you’ll agree after you watch it that you come away with a total different perspective on joining the Navy than you do from the traditional Navy promotional stuff.
Indeed, if you read some of the comments people made about the video, you can see the magic working. “well, i’ve never been in the navy, but i wanna enlist now” and “I LOVE it! I was cracking up watching, but at the same time, thankful to see those of you, sacrificing your time and lives for us, in this light, as one of all of us! It was so nice seeing you have a “break”, and enjoying yourselves! Thanks for the smile!”
Kudos to the Navy for coming up with this campaign!

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