June 14th 2008
By Mike Flaminio
BrandWeek reports that the Army plans to unveil a pilot concept recruitment center in late August that was inspired by the interactivity of Apple Stores. The center, opening in an unnamed city, will be built around virtual simulations and other experiential marketing techniques to engage
would-be grunts visitors.
According to the write up, the success of Apple retail centers--as well as attractions like the ESPN Zone--prompted Edward Walters, CMO, US Army, to make a tactical change.
"In the past we've focused on traditional media vehicles," he said "[But] the millennial generation is used to engaging in interactive assets and we need to adapt to them."
New, interactive methods to attract fresh recruits?
The first new recruitment center is designed to be less intimidating and more "like walking into a NASA center," said Walters. It will consist of three large simulators with full-scale mock-ups of Army equipment and wrap-around 270-degree video screens.
"With everything going on with the war effort, you think they would be a little more buttoned up," said Richard Laermer, author of 2011: Trendspotting for the Decade. "Right now there is nothing cool about the Army."
If the test proves successful, many centers will be opened around the country.
Editor's note: Whenever I think about recruiting for the armed services, I always think of Starship Troopers (iTunes link)--"Fresh meat for the grinder, eh?"
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