Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More than dog heads and buxom women shadowed in ice cubes

Before hurricanes dominated the media landscape, Business Week Online published Uncle Sam Wants You in the Worst Way in their August 22nd News: Analysis & Commentary section. It’s no secret that the armed forces are hurting for people—they can’t lasso pre-adults fast enough to feed the quota coffers in DC.

Rather than hanging his head in shame, Uncle Sam is cranking up the heat. He’s going to drop some significant coin to wash the brains of American parents, specifically parents of today’s young men and women. The intended outcome is that Ma and Pa Patriot will twist little Joey’s arm, after being blitzed with a multipronged campaign, to head on down to the nearest Army recruiting office.

Sammy is getting clever in his old age. Rather than just rely on commercials to snag warm bodies, the Army is planning to stage televised town hall meetings with “carefully selected soldiers” to “tell positive stories about military accomplishments in Iraq and Afghanistan and answer questions.” According to BW Online, these town halls are “a risky strategy” because the audience will not be prescreened. Oh, okay, only the actors—I mean soldiers—will be prescreened. Gotcha. In addition, Army personnel recently made an appearance on Monster Garage and are slated to break into reality TV with ESPN’s new show Bound For Glory: The Montour Spartans. It’s all in the presentation, dear American.

The Army is digging deep into our pockets to make this magic happen. Fiscal year 2005, they plunked $240 million of our dollars on the table for marketing. Next fiscal year, the ad companies get a raise--$320 million is ready to slush into the marketing fund. BW puts the increase in the Army’s marketing budget into perspective—they’re planning on spending two-plus times as much as Toyota, per recruit. That means Toyota spends less than $2000 per customer to reel them in, while the Army plans to pay $4000 per recruit on bait; if they don’t make quota next fiscal year, the per recruit price tag goes up exponentially.

I do not yet have the courage of tax protester Dave Gross, over at The Picket Line. His writing is spurring me to delve deeper into my mind and conscience, however. I can’t stomach the thievery anymore—stealing my money to lure folks to their death. Death can take on many forms; you don’t have to leave this earth to feel dead on the inside. I really can’t stomach it, and it appears I’m not alone.


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