Back in 2003 Salon.com the online magazine ran an article by Whitney Joiner, “The Army be Thuggin’ It.” It talks about how the Army is using hip hop culture to attract African American recruits. Another legacy Caldera left.
The Army uses a decked out Hummer as a marketing tool at hip hop events and others that will have many African American teens at it. Part of their “Taking It to the Streets” campaign, launched by Vital Marketing Group, the team that handles the Army’s African-American marketing. The hummer has many multimedia features, recruitment videos, and contests of physical strength. This is all part of the Army’s marketing plan to show they understand hip hop culture. In another campaign, they teamed up with hip hop magazine The Source as part of the Source Campus Combat Tour. All of this is part of the niche marketing began when Caldera hired Leo Burnett to revolutionize its marketing strategy to get more Blacks and Latinos in the Army.
Many critics are interviewed bemoaning the use of hip hop for imperialist and militarist means. Others see no problem, as hip hop is being used to market many things these days. But no one can argue that they have been achieving Caldera’s goals of recruiting more Latinos and other non-whites, as well as lower income whites. The article cites 2003 statistics that show that Blacks are 16 percent of enlistees, and Latinos are 13.4 percent, more than their share of the population. More Latinos have been recruited overall.
In an analysis of the military’s recruiting wars, Nick Turse looks at many new methods of recruitment. He cites JAMRS, or “joint marketing communications and market research and studies. One of these includes the following:
“Hispanic Barriers to Enlistment: a project to “identify the factors contributing to under-representation of Hispanic youth among military accessions” and “inform future strategies for increasing Hispanic representation among the branches of the Military.”
More Latinos got into the military during the Iraq War. Caldera helped bring this about. Meanwhile, UNM was looking for a new president at the same time, and Caldera’s name came up once again, his military background becoming key.
Joiner, Whitney. “The Army by thuggin’ it.” Salon.com. October 17, 2003. http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2003/10/17/army/index.html.
Turse, Nick. “An Army of (No) One: An Inside Look at the Military’s Internet Recruiting War.” TomDispatch.com. July 13, 2005. Accessed at http://www.alternet.org/world/23498/