Army Revives ‘Be All You Can Be’ Campaign

Army Revives ‘Be All You Can Be’ Campaign

Soldier climbing a rope
Photo by: U.S. Army Enterprise Marketing Office

The Army has launched a massive new effort to bust through a stubborn recruiting environment with a modern revival of the iconic “Be All You Can Be” ad campaign that identified the service for 20 years.

With a refreshed website, updated star logo and two initial ads with more to come later this year, Army leaders are banking on the updated campaign to help attract new enlistees by evoking a message that resonates across generations.

Citing “the most challenging recruiting landscape in decades,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said that now “is a perfect time to be launching our new brand, launching our reinvented tagline, ‘Be All You Can Be.’ … It evokes limitless possibilities for people from all walks of life.”

“As a child of the 1980s, I am super excited that we are bringing back a reinvented version of ‘Be All You Can Be,’ because I think it really does speak to the many, many possibilities that the Army offers,” Wormuth said March 8 at an event in Washington, D.C.,  to launch the new campaign.

Calling it “a tagline that stands the test of time,” Wormuth said the new campaign “resonated by far the best with audiences of all ages” during research conducted by the Army Enterprise Marketing Office.

Wormuth noted that the Army has set an ambitious recruiting goal of 65,000 for this year, one that she called “a stretch goal given that last year we set our goal at 60,000 and we only made 45,000.” With more than six months left in the fiscal year, she said there is “a lot of positive momentum, and we are doing better at this point in the year than we were doing last year.”

Recruiting for all the services was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when lockdowns prevented recruiters from critical in-person contact with high school students. It also contributed to lagging education and other societal effects, such as a lack of physical activity, substance abuse and obesity.

Since 2001, when the Army replaced its 20-year-old “Be All You Can Be” campaign with “Army of One,” the service has struggled to find the right tone to appeal to the widest audience.

In the first ad released March 8, titled “Overcoming Obstacles,” actor Jonathan Majors, dressed in a modern, brown overcoat, walks alongside Revolutionary War soldiers pushing a cannon up a muddy hill and asks, “When you look into your future, do you see a life full of obstacles or possibilities?”

Majors, star of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Creed III, continues to walk through the Army’s history in scenes from World War II to natural disasters to a present day busload of young people on their way to basic training, calling on the viewer to “draw strength from those beside you and make your history.”

In the second ad, “Pushing Tomorrow,” a dragonfly buzzes away from Majors’ hand as he asks, “Who on earth has the vision to map a new frontier?” Evoking once more the Army’s innovation through history, the ad ends with a young soldier holding a drone that can record photos and video.

The ads will be pushed out to audiences across the country on platforms including television, print, billboards, streaming video, social and community platforms and audio channels.

The “Be All You Can Be” tagline has “stuck with me for 40 years,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said.

“We need every parent of this country to know, the United States Army is a pathway to success, both in and out of uniform, whether you serve for four years or 40 years,” McConville said. “The Army is full of endless possibilities.”