Campaign defies expectations, challenges misperceptions of Soldier experience
December 23, 2013
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Dec. 23, 2013) -- In the latest series of ads for the "Army Strong" campaign, the U.S. Army takes the audience's expectations about what the Army experience is like and turns it on its head in a surprising but realistic way.
"The goal of the 'Defy Expectations' ad series is to motivate prospects to take a deeper look into the Army," said James Ortiz, director of marketing, Army Marketing and Research Group. "By challenging current preconceived notions, we want prospects to pause, seek out our online platforms or an Army recruiter, and really consider the Army for what it is -- a unique life-changing career and education opportunity and an incredible foundation for success today and tomorrow."
The three television spots address common misperceptions about serving in the Army and Army Reserve, while highlighting the diverse professional skills and careers available in the Army and through Army training.
For example, the "Drill Sergeant" TV commercial leverages the audience's expectation of a tough drill sergeant, to then surprise them when the featured drill sergeant is equally impressed that the new recruit's goal is to learn a professional skill in addition to joining the world's greatest Army.
The ad series consists of three ads: "Drill Sergeant," "Surveyor," and "Experience of a Lifetime" -- an ad that specifically targets the Army Reserve recruiting. The ads will begin airing on television Dec. 23, and can be seen on the GoArmy YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/goarmy.
Staff Sgt. Amber Jones, an Army drill sergeant leader who appears in accompanying online advertisements in the series, is a living example of how her service as a Soldier has defied her own expectations, let alone those of her friends and family.
Jones joined the Army after graduating college and a brief career overseas as a teacher. When her teaching profession didn't work out, she re-evaluated what she wanted to do and eventually combined her interest in the Army with her love of skydiving and enlisted in 2006, as an active-duty parachute rigger.
Shortly after, her journey in the Army led her down an unexpected path.
"I didn't serve very long as a parachute rigger -- within two weeks I was selected as the Color Sergeant for the 18th Airborne Corps Color Guard, and then I became the NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) of that organization," Jones said.
Her position in the color guard prompted Jones to audition for a spot in the U.S. Army Soldier Show in 2008, which she ultimately won and was given a special one-year tour of duty to travel with the show.
As a civilian, Jones enjoyed acting, performing and traveling, but Jones never expected she would experience these things while on active duty.
"On my path in the Army, I have done all of that and more," Jones said. "I have been a professional performer on stage, performing in front of thousands of people. I have traveled the world and seen [multiple] countries, and almost all 50 states."
After she finished her special tour, Jones' three-year service with the Army was complete. Following a conversation with a retention sergeant regarding a position as a drill sergeant, Jones joined the U.S. Army Reserve, attended drill sergeant school and then immediately went on active duty to train Soldiers in basic training. Based on her performance there, Jones was selected as a drill sergeant leader for the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School.
As a drill sergeant leader, Jones has the opportunity to share her story and tell the people she is training what the Army has to offer.
"I let them know that what you think you're getting into is such a bigger organization and has so many more opportunities than just standing in those boots," Jones said. "You can really be and do anything you dreamed of outside the Army, in the Army."