Uncle Sam wants you . . . to start rhyming?
In a first, the U.S. Army released a rap video on Friday. Titled, “Giving All I Got,” the three-minute spot features two soldiers detailing the many benefits–both big (life lessons) and small (a free clock)–of Army life. The hip-hop duo, dressed in fatigues, are shown practicing their music skills across army bases and among fellow soldiers. The video is meant to help recruit gen-Z.
“Education you gone’ git, no doubt we stay fit . . . Airborne, we stay lit,” raps one soldier. His partner reminds potential recruits that “there’s more to a soldier than just taking orders,” before listing all the bills the Army pays for: electric, water, and living quarters, among them.
For all its enthusiasm, the clip does miss the mark on a pretty big thing: There’s not a single woman featured in the entire video. Men make up the vast majority of enlisted Army troops–women constitute only 14%. (And they, too, like rap.) Then there are some minor gen-Z misses, such as when rappers reference sifting through photos on Flickr, not Instagram.
The video is the brainchild of two full-time recruiters, Sergeant 1st Class Arlondo Sutton and Sergeant 1st Class Jason Locke. The two produced a similar version on their own, which made its way to Major General Frank Muth, commander of Army Recruiting Command. Impressed, Muth requested an official version with a broader Army focus.
Military.com reports that the new video is one of several new efforts in the Army’s latest recruiting strategy, which was launched last fall in the wake of missed goals. Army leadership announced it missed its recruiting goal by 6,500 new soldiers. Since that time, the Army released four commercials in a campaign called, “Warriors Wanted.”
At a pre-screening event for the music video at the Pentagon, Army officials explained that prior to recent efforts, the Army hadn’t made a commercial in three years. The division realized it was imperative to release new ads in the hopes of igniting interest.
“The Z-gens, they are turning quick; their attention span is eight seconds,” said Muth, noting the need to get recruiting content out on social media. “Giving All I Got” can now be found on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Army is also diversifying its recruitment focus. NPR reports that the Army, which traditionally centered on more conservative parts of the country across the South and in Texas, took a bigger interest in 22 left-leaning cities, including Boston and San Francisco.
Low recruitment numbers is one of several issues the military has faced in terms of late. Earlier this year, the Army announced a new fitness test following reports that 47% of males and 59% of females failed the Army’s entry-level physical fitness test while entering basic training.