Over the years, the United States Army Recruiting Command has had to adapt its messaging as well as its approach to reaching potential new recruits. Back in the day, it was perfectly normal to see “Be All You Can Be” or “Army of One” commercials on every television channel and an Army recruiter skulking around every high school in the country searching for the most physically fit C-plus or C-minus students.
Fast-forward to the modern day, and the Army has had to change up its tactics a bit. For starters, no one watches cable TV anymore. Instead, they watch videos on social media, YouTube, and various paid streaming services, all of which now feature ads for the US Army from time to time. Today’s recruiters are continuously searching for modern and innovative ways to find potential recruits in the digital space and inform them of all the great benefits that await them in the United States Army.
Enter the Island Boys.
Earlier this year, Texas-based United States Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Orlando Tamez made the bold yet questionable decision to pay the Island Boys — a pair of social-media influencers who look like what would happen if Sideshow Bob dropped acid and fought a coloring book — to create and star in a video talking about the benefits of joining the Army. The video quickly went viral.
It’s been several months since then, and we are absolutely shocked to report that this plan did not work and the United States Army is still struggling to recruit young Americans. Shocking, we know. So what went wrong? Why weren’t recruiting offices across the country flooded with Island Boy fans ready to shave off whatever sea urchins they had growing on their heads at the time and fight for their country? Well, we’ve got some ideas.
Here are eight reasons that the Island Boys recruiting ad failed miserably.
- In the first few seconds of the video, the Island Boys talk about the 50K signing bonus available to some enlistees. When they do, the Island Boy on the left holds up four fingers followed by a zero. That’s 40. Already off to a rough start.
- They’re bad representatives of the United States Army. Their hair looks like what would happen if you electrocuted cotton candy and gave it an STD.
- 90% of what’s said in the video is unintelligible, even with subtitles.
- In the video, the Island Boys promise that, if you enlist in the Army, you will get “free college, no money.” Only half of that statement is correct.
- They identify Staff Sgt. Tamez as an “honorary Island Boy.” Who in his right mind would ever sign a binding contract with someone identified as an honorary Island Boy?
- The ad is completely focused on money. People can make money anywhere. It takes more than the promise of a paycheck to pull in recruits. My recruiter gave me a stolen motorcycle, for example.
- At one point, an Island Boy proclaims, “I want to be in the Army!” and then immediately laughs. Let that sink in. How bad are things in the Army if dudes like that laugh at the idea of signing up?
- Unless it’s from some badass tribal warrior or Mike Tyson, you should never take life advice from a dude with a face tattoo.