Armies are good at a lot of things we are not -- fighting, exercise, making beds -- but they can be bizarrely bad at convincing people to join them. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard. Just show them any number of articles on this site with "soldiers" and "badass" in the title. Yet they still routinely manage to fail in a spectacular fashion. Like when ...
The Chinese army has long suffered an image problem. As a result of that (and also the terrible pay and conditions, those might have something to do with it), young people in China are avoiding military conscription at all costs. The PLA needed to solve this problem. But how? Raise the pay? Provide more benefits? Explain to the kids how sweet it is to be in the PLA with a hip-hop song and video?
Obviously they went with the last one. "Battle Declaration" is three minutes and seven seconds of hip-hop military bravado. The video is just one part of a campaign to reach the kids these days, which also includes a PSA depicting spies as American superheroes and an animated rap video hyping President Xi Jinping, or "Big Daddy Xi."
The Chinese government is no stranger to using music as propaganda, but this does mark the first time they've so blatantly tried to fellow the kids. The message, as spokesman Colonel Wu Qian explained in a press conference, is that "a man's youth is not only about being cool, but also about being responsible for the nation and its security." It's funny how a Chinese colonel can sound exactly like your "cool" youth pastor who skateboards.
In the Kazakhstan army, women are so lauded that they're paraded around in online beauty contests, because the most important thing on the battlefield is not fighting next to an uggo.
It was an attempt to arouse interest among men -- well, men so desperate to be near female beauty that they'd literally die for it. And it worked ... sort of. It doesn't appear to have boosted recruitment numbers, but thousands of men, from Kazakhstan and elsewhere, did participate in online voting to decide which 12 of the original 123 contestants would be chosen for a "women in the Kazakhstan army" calendar.
One poor soul even commented that they hoped the competition would help restore Kazakhstan's image after Borat, not realizing that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen in a Borat segment.
The armies of the world are all but useless in the event of a sudden attack from space. But until the Lectroids from Planet Ten turn us all into edible sex slaves, the very concept is a fantasy. A fantasy that the Army would very much like to exploit to trick nerds into enlisting.
That might look like an ad for the 2016 Independence Day sequel (and it is), but it's also an actual ad for the U.S. Army. "Join the Earth Space Defense" sounds like goofy sci-fi nonsense, but the URL at the end led to a very real army recruitment website.
According to the site, the ESD is a real thing that's been around since 1996 (when Will Smith initially welcomed the aliens to Earf). They even tried to stir up some nationalistic (planetistic?) fury with a website that let you see what your street will look like after it gets fucked up by Martians. All the more the reason to sign up and be a hero. Speaking of being a hero ...
Unfortunately, the ESD website is no longer operational. It must have been reverse-hacked by the aliens using Jeff Goldblum's Magical MacBook. But they still need people in the regular U.S. Army, wouldn't you know.
According to Kazakhstan, the biggest battlefield nightmare for men is fighting alongside some frumpy dame. But according to the British Army, it's even worse to be that frumpy dame. So what's more important to the ladies in green than defending life, liberty, and the right to be politely snide about everything? Why, a military makeover, of course!
That's what these 2017 social media ads targeting women in Scotland seemed to suggest. The ads were promoting the British Army's recruitment booth at an upcoming beauty and fashion show, encouraging attendees to "try on some Cam cream [sic]" and take selfies after a "Military Makeup" demonstration, complete with hashtags like #ABetterYou and #ItsAnArmyGirlThing. Heaven knows if there's anything millennial women love more than invading hostile territories, it's hashtags.
The would-be recruits were obviously less than thrilled by the pandering display, and the posts were promptly deleted, followed by an apology that reaffirmed the British Army's commitment to equality. Balderdash, we say. Until men and women are encouraged to pretty up before battle, there can be no equality.
You could put together a better ad with a copy of Marketing For Dummies.
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