Army's Channel One Effort Tells Soldiers' Stories
The United States Army has been experimenting with social media at least since 2008, when it launched "Army Strong Stories," an online community where soldiers and others can post comments, stories, questions, and reflections as well as photos and other media. Now, in an extension of that philosophy, the Army is launching a four-month video series on the in-school Channel One Network.
The "Dream Strong" Web series features an array of soldiers who have reached leading positions and have unusual skills. Channel One News, the teen-targeting news network, is owned by Alloy Media, which created the series. There will initially be four videos.
The series, which runs through April in its initial phase, lives on a "Dream Strong" Army-branded section of ChannelOne.com and will also be promoted via commercials on the Channel One News daily 12-minute broadcast.
Bruce Jasurda, chief marketing officer of the U.S. Army, tells Marketing Daily that Channel One is in about 8,000 schools around the country and reaches some six million teens. He says the program will comprise at least a dozen of the mini-documentaries this year.
Alloy Media + Marketing will promote the series via "Alloy Digital Network" on Alloy-owned site Takkle.com, and a list of other partner sites through April, per an Alloy spokesperson who says Alloy Digital Network has been ranked No. 1 by comScore for close to two years straight under the "Community Teens" category. The Army has had marketing programs with Channel One for more than a decade, according to the spokesperson.
"This is less a means of recruiting than a medium for us to tell the Army story," he says. "This is how young folks access information, and so we want to make it relevant and diverse. We want to show the skills that soldiers have, but we will change it up; we want an element of surprise."
The first piece is about U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III, who set two Olympic records and won gold in Beijing. Another will be on a world-class chef who also happens to be an Army chef.
A third will be about Michele Jones, the Army's highest-ranking enlisted female and the first female to serve as Command Sergeant Major, who also is special assistant to the Secretary of Defense.
Jasurda says the Army is also preparing a new general-market ad campaign that will begin filming this month, extending "Army Strong" and airing early this summer.