Documents outline a multi-million dollar US Army recruitment campaign using influencers and Call of Duty

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Apparently, the United States Army is eager to find any number of “creative” ways to get younger people to enlist. Documents obtained by Vice through the Freedom of Information Act outline a multi-million dollar recruitment drive that the military branch was looking to organize, with specific aims to target Gen Z by paying influencers to create content and tie itself to the Call of Duty franchise, among other things.

The documents outline plans to work with COD content creators like David “Stonemountain64” Steinberg, Kris “FaZe Swagg” Lamberson, and Alex Zedra, who would be tapped to “create original content videos showcasing the wide range of skillsets offered by the Army,” as well as plans for a sponsorship for a COD esports event. However, Activision-Blizzard’s various scandals put the kibosh on most of these ideas, according to an included email from August 2021.

The military branch was also earmarking funds for a partnership with esports team OpTic Chicago (which worked with the Army previously), and ad spends on WWE, Paramount+ shows, IGN, G4, and an esports event for historically Black colleges and universities. All told, the Army was willing to spend over $3M on these initiatives.

As mentioned before, the aim of this drive was to get in front of “Gen Z Prospects [aged] 18-24” with a “focus on the growth target of females, Black, and Hispanics” in that age group. A spokesperson for the Army told Vice that that these plans were similar to previous targeted recruitment drives, and that the branch was attempting to “meet the youth where they are and that is online.”

Indeed, the US Army using video games for recruitment is not anything new. It had previously used a multiplayer mil sim game for recruitment purposes until its sunset this past May, attempted to field esports teams for various shooters to again connect with the youth of America, and even used War Thunder as a training tool for real tank crews in an effort to maintain combat readiness.

source: Vice via Kotaku
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