Advertisements that Capitalize on the Military

Advertising agencies love the military – because Americans do. Among average Americans, there is a characteristically pro-military sentiment. Americans love watching sappy military homecoming videos, and advertising agencies have been capitalizing on this for years.

Yesterday was Veterans Day, and it was obvious to me how many organizations and corporations use this pro-military sentiment for capital gain. Military-themed advertisements pull on Americans’ heartstrings – and purse strings.

I first started realizing the way I was being manipulated during last year’s Super Bowl with the Budweiser, “A Hero’s Welcome” commercial, which was one of the most popular commercials of Super Bowl XLVIII.

Jeep also used the military homecoming theme in a Super Bowl commercial, attempting to sell a military-themed Jeep Wrangler with the tagline, “When our troops are home, we are more than a family. We are a nation that is whole again.” Bag News called out this blatant capitalization on the pro-military sentiments in a 2014 article, accusing the commercial of playing on the vulnerability of returning troops and the hearts of American sports fans and media consumers. Can a combat veteran ever feel whole again, especially while sitting in a combat-vehicle inspired Jeep?

Ad Age begged another important question – why is the U.S. military, one of the most respected brans in the country, selling troops for such a low price to any beer company to use as a selling tool?

According to a Huffington Post article, advertisers are smart to try to capitalize on veterans, because the market is so huge. With 25 million veterans experiencing a military affinity in America, this market cannot be ignored.

Advertisements that I once thought were tributes to the military, I now see as downright manipulative, and I remain wary about these types of advertisements that capitalize on the Armed Forces and their families.

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1 Response to Advertisements that Capitalize on the Military

  1. I agree with this completely. American culture is one embedded with patriotism and love for the military–as well as branding. And what could be more American than honoring the military while watching the Super Bowl? Advertising agencies have mastered the art of manipulating ideologies and our emotions into profit. I’m sure most of us have cried at military homecoming videos, which are often made into commercials, worn some form of camouflage or cargo clothing, and shared an American flag on national holidays.
    However, while companies are capitalizing on military pride and values, the US military is downsizing and letting go of their own.
    An interesting NY Times article was published yesterday:
    This story talks about how, as the US pulls out of war in the Middle East, soldiers’ services are no longer needed and they are being released. Many who’ve committed to the Army and set out to make it a lifelong career are being forced into early retirement, and will receive lower-ranking pension due to budget cuts.
    For a country so supportive of our troops, we don’t seem to treat them that way. “Loyalty seems like a one-way street.”

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