The Making of
In the run up to Veterans Day, the U.S. Army is launching the first television ads of its new
Army Strong recruiting campaign on 9 November 2006. Spots include:
o “Army Strong,” 30- and 60-second spots, showcasing powerful images from the lives of
U.S. Army Soldiers.
o “Interview,” a 30-second English-language spot and “Entrevista,” a 30-second Spanish-
language spot, featuring the story and transformation of a U.S. Army Soldier through his
and his parents’ own words.
The ads are a follow-up to the 9 October 2006 announcement of the Army Strong tagline at
the 2006 AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Additional Army Strong advertising is scheduled to launch in 2006, including radio and
online spots as well as more television ads. Print ads are scheduled to begin running in
The Army is also reaching out to potential Soldiers through a campaign microsite, available
The ads were developed by the McCann Worldgroup, the global marketing communications
agency hired by the U.S. Army in December 2005.
To develop Army Strong, McCann worked closely with Army leadership – analyzing Army
research and examining the challenges of meeting the Army’s recruiting mission across
various military commands.
McCann conducted in-depth research among future Soldiers and their influencers, and
interacted with hundreds of Soldiers – new recruits, Soldiers in AIT, senior officers, Cadets,
Special Missions Soldiers and Army Reserve Soldiers – to identify the defining character of
the U.S. Army and the motivations of the next generation of Soldiers.
The McCann team also participated in a three-day mini basic combat training at Fort
Jackson, S.C. This allowed the team, if only for 80 hours, to stand in the boots of American
In research among future Soldiers, Army Strong garnered some of the most positive
feedback that the Army has seen in years. The feedback was that this campaign – this
brand of strength – provided a powerful and distinctive insight into what the Army offers its
Shooting the Spots
Communicating the essential truth of the Soldier was a priority throughout the development
of the Army Strong ads. Thus, all of the uniformed Soldiers in the ads are actual U.S. Army
Soldiers, not actors.
The ads were shot after casting calls and in-person interviews at Fort Riley, KS, and Fort
Lewis, WA. Hundreds of Soldiers answered the casting call. Each Soldier talked to the
McCann team about his or her personal experience and had a picture and video taken. The
McCann team selected Soldiers that represented the full spectrum of careers, skills,
experience and cultural diversity that comprises today’s U.S. Army.
The “Army Strong” ads were shot at and around Ft. Riley and Ft. Lewis. Soldiers were
filmed completing the obstacle course, participating in physical training and conducting
Airborne Assault training. The U.S. Army utilized Blackhawk, Apache and Chinook
helicopters, multiple Humvees and other equipment to demonstrate the level of technology
used by U.S. Army Soldiers.
The parents and Soldiers featured in “Interview” and “Entrevista” are real families and were
selected based on recommendations by Soldiers. These spots were shot documentary style
on a working farm in Iowa and at a Soldier’s family home and business in Long Beach, CA.
About the Director
The Army Strong ads are directed by Samuel Bayer, one of the most prolific and sought-
after talents in the advertising and music video industries.
Bayer is well known for the countless award-winning videos he has produced for artists such
as Green Day, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Sheryl Crow and Metallica. His advertising
work includes campaigns for Nike, Coke, Pepsi, Nissan, Lexus and Mountain Dew.
About the Composer
Renowned composer Mark Isham is the artist behind the stirring original musical score for
the Army Strong campaign. The music features undertones from the 29-member Soldiers’
Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band in the 30- and 60-second “Army Strong” spots.
Isham, a top Hollywood film composer, has more than 70 film and TV credits, including
memorable scores for such notable films as “Eight Below,” “Running Scared,” “Crash,” “The
Cooler,” “A River Runs Through It,” “Blade,” “Nell,” “Men of Honor” and “Miracle.” He won
an Emmy in 1996 for the theme he produced for the television show “EZ Streets.”
For more information on Army Strong and the U.S. Army’s recruiting efforts, please visit