Media Wars: Advertising for the U.S. Military

The first spots produced by the U.S. Army's new ad agency, McCann Erickson, aim "to recruit Arabic-speaking translators," reports Advertising Age. The Arabic-language spots are running in heavy rotation during World Cup coverage on the Arab Radio & Television Network in Canada and the United States. In one ad, a soldier says, "I am a bridge between two cultures. ... I make the children smile because I can speak with them," followed by "a mention of a $10,000 reward for joining the Army and the possibility of expedited U.S. citizenship." In related news, a public service ad being filmed in Los Angeles for airing in Iraq will discourage suicide bombing. The "high-tech PSA will cost over $1 million" and may "air in other Middle Eastern countries," reports Newsweek. Critics point out that "the cost of owning a TV is often prohibitive for the average Iraqi." Another question is whether "the type of young man drawn to extremist groups" is "likely to sit around watching TV." The PSA is being financed by an anonymous "non-governmental group of scholars, non political people," explained producer Drew Plotkin.