the environment of recruiting becomes more and more demanding, public
affairs is being looked upon more to increase awareness and improve the
image of each of the five military services.
Currently, this is done through supporting media and athletic
events targeted toward those individuals between 18 and 24 years old, as
well as advertising directed specifically to this age group.
Both local and national efforts have provided excellent
opportunities to reach the public. However, this is an ever-changing environment and no one tool
or technique stays effective indefinitely.
through dedicated motion picture public affairs offices located in Los
Angeles, the military does provide limited support and resources for
movies. These offices decide
if the image presented in the movie of the military is positive and
accurate and they coordinate support for the specific needs of the
separate from recruiting, these offices have limited interaction with the
recruiting commands of their respective services and thus have never been
used as a direct tool for recruiting.
has been done on the impact of movies on individuals' beliefs and
feelings, as well as motivating their needs or desires (Austin, 1986;
Jeffers, 1997). In the past,
Hollywood was used to assist in informing and motivating Americans to
support the war effort during World War II, with moderate success
(Jeffers, 1997). Since then,
other researchers have looked at movies as more than a form of
entertainment. Woll (1983)
has shown how movies can direct the public's attention and inform them by
giving them a clear and comprehensible picture of a certain event.
years, recruiters for the military have worked on image recognition and
impact through advertising and community events.
However, resources are limited and every opportunity must be
exploited to the fullest if the military as a whole is to meet its
recruiting goals. Motion
pictures provide such an opportunity.
the public affairs offices dealing with movie production look to see if
the movie message presented is positive, they have never looked at the
effects of movies on the audience, predominately those who would decide to
enter the military. Researchers
such as DeLorme, Reid and Zimmer (1994) have looked into the effect
of product placement in films on audiences, but the military has not
studied how effective their support of movies has been on informing or
influencing audiences. If
seeing military related events and characters have a significant impact of
focusing the attention on the military, then this could be used as a
vehicle in promoting the military.
becomes increasingly important as the level of direct knowledge of the
military dwindles. Movies
have become increasingly important in teaching and informing the public
about the military (Wetts & Curley, 1992). By directly supporting the motion picture industry, the
military can ensure their portrayal is not only accurate, but also central
to the story line. This could
increase the impact of the military theme on the audience and be more
beneficial. These are the
things which need to be studied if this aspect of public awareness is to
be used to assist in recruiting.
is one of but a few endeavors which brings the military directly to local
communities. Because of this, there are many factors that affect its
execution and success. These
can't always be eliminated but must be taken into account when performing
an analysis of methods to improve recruiting. These extraneous factors
were beyond the scope of this study but their general description can be
recent improvement in the economy is the first and most important
variable. While this has
recently placed pressure on recruiters of the five military services, as
the economy changes, so do levels of recruiting. Opportunities elsewhere,
predominately in the private sector, can drawn heavily on the pool of
qualified personnel the military uses every year to replenish its ranks.
Better incentives, such as higher salaries and quicker promotions,
are factors of a strong economy and fluctuate with it as corporate America
aggressively pursues the nations youth.
Coupled with the fact that the five services are all looking for
the same type of individual, often placing them in direct competition, the
recruiting environment has become a difficult pursuit where every
advantage must be explored.
limitation of this study is the cyclic trend that recruiting repeats
annually. This is dependent
on the availability of applicants and the school year.
Starting in June and lasting until September, the graduating
seniors provide a ready pool for the recruiters to work with and perhaps
build a backlog of applicants waiting to go to boot camp through the
delayed entry program. October
through January is the time recruiters work with those individuals from
community colleges or graduating seniors who have decided to postpone
college for financial or personal reasons. Additionally, February through May is the most difficult time
for recruiters, as numbers in the delayed entry program have dwindled and
other prospective applicants must wait until they finish high school.
This is a common cycle with few changes each year.
This could affect the impact of movies depending upon their release
date, thus affecting the validity of the study.
such as military scandals and long-standing perceptions of the military
are a real and often difficult roadblocks recruiters face in working with
qualified applicants and another limitation to the study.
Regardless of the service, events concerning the military which
capture media and public interest can affect a perspective recruits
decision to enlist. These existing attitudes are not measured in this
study creating a limitation. These impressions or perceptions may be a
one-time effect or long standing, greatly changing the potential impact a
movie may have at its time of release.
With all of these extraneous recruiting variables, it may be
difficult to isolate an effect of a particular movie on a recruit's
decision to enlist.
study covers a method to measure the effectiveness toward recruiting of
the armed services' support for military theme motion pictures.
If the results prove to positively affect recruiting numbers or
motivate individuals to seek out recruitment, the amount of resources
dedicated to movies should be increased and perhaps a greater range of
motion pictures supported. If
this study shows recruiting is either negatively affected or there is no
effect from motion pictures, the support should be reevaluated and perhaps