The U.S. Army has announced that it has signed an estimated $2 million sponsorship deal with the Global Gaming League website as a means to recruit candidates from the site's readership, 80 percent of which are 17-24 year old males.
According to a report
by USA Today, the Army sees this deal as a potential step towards reaching a demographic that is generally more difficult to reach through traditional advertising channels.
Beginning in June, the Army will sponsor an area of the site designed to attract the reported 9.2 million players who visit the site monthly. The new area will feature 15 different games, as well as the opportunity to compete in an America's Army
monthly Elite Forces tournament.
“The consumer model for traditional media is changing,” explained Gary Bishop, who is charged with overseeing the Army's marketing and advertising efforts. “We’re grappling with the challenge of how do we better use new media to tell the Army story. Online is probably the best way.”
“We’re taking the idea of military gaming and having the Army leverage an existing environment to find potential candidates for recruits,” added Reuben Hendell, CEO of MRM Worldwide, the organization that will create the new Army-themed portion of the website. According to Army officials, the sponsorship deal offers an opportunity for the military to “to tell the Army story,” and show that “it’s not all about combat.”
The move into online recruiting is of course not unprecedented in the history of the military branch, which played an instrumental role in the creation of the America's Army
, the Army's first-person shooter for the PC.
Designed to serve the dual role as both a tool for entertainment as well as recruitment, America's Army
has gone on to surpass most expectations regarding the title's potential for success, even going so far as to be ported to the home console market as well.