U.S. Army Pauses 'Be All You Can Be' Revival After Star's Arrest
The U.S. Army paused its latest ad campaign following the arrest this weekend of actor Jonathan Majors, who stars in the high-profile work that revived the iconic "Be All You Can Be" slogan.
Majors faces assault charges stemming from an apparent domestic dispute that took place on Sunday, per press reports.
According to coverage in Army Times, a New York police official said, "Officers responded to a 911 call shortly after 11:00 a.m. at an apartment in the city's Chelsea neighborhood, where they found Majors and a 30-year-old woman with injuries to her head and neck."
"While Mr. Majors is innocent until proven guilty, prudence dictates that we pull our ads until the investigation into these allegations is complete," says Laura DeFrancisco, spokesperson for the Army Enterprise Marketing Office.
According to the New York Post, Majors' attorney Priya Chaudhry says video footage and witness testimony—along with written statements from his accuser recanting the allegations—will clear the Creed III actor of all wrongdoing.
In another development, the Army plants to move ahead with much of the work, but some changes will be made. "A majority of that content did not contain our main narrator. So we have a ton of content to go back to, to create basically new commercials, new ads, if we need to," says Maj. Gen. Alex Fink.
Muse wrote about the campaign when it debuted on March 8. Here's our original story:
As it struggles to meet recruiting goals, the U.S. Army looks both ahead and behind in sweeping ads deployed today by Team DDB.
The campaign revives the iconic "Be All You Can Be" slogan, which enjoyed a two-decade run ending in 2001. More recent tags include "Warriors Wanted," "What's Your Warrior?" and "Army Strong."
In terms of striving forward, the new work makes a Gen Z appeal with aptly-named actor Jonathan Majors (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) starring in cinematic spots from director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman, Ghost in the Shell). Rob Simonsen (Stranger Things) co-created the subtly stirring soundtrack.
In a Spielbergian :90 below, Majors crosses battlefields and other areas of Army activity as actors and F/X vividly recreate scenes dating back to the Revolutionary War. It's an impressive time-tripping production, spanning nearly 250 years.
Along the way, Majors stresses camaraderie, community and the satisfaction of joining something greater than the sum of its parts. At one point, he bids prospective soldiers to "draw strength from those beside you—and make your history."
"Research tells us that youth seek out paths filled with possibilities of purpose, passion, community and connection," though they don't view the U.S. military as an institution "that can provide those opportunities," the Army says in campaign materials.
With that in mind, the new "Be All You Can Be" strives to "show today’s youth that the Army can meet these needs and offer what matters to them most. At a time when economic, political, and social factors are negatively impacting youth's outlook, the new Army brand reveals a more optimistic vision of the future marked by self-determination, hope and personal and professional fulfillment."
This :60 amplifies such themes:
"The launch of the new brand is not a response to recruiting challenges or past campaigns, which have been very effective at reaching target audiences," the Army says. "It's a response to the changing needs of a new generation."
Still, the organization needs to beef up its ranks, and this initiative represents a big push toward that objective. Portraying service as a way of building skills and character, of improving oneself as a human being, probably makes sense for a modern audience. There's a call to patriotism, too, interwoven with notions of meeting challenges and testing your mettle in life and death situations. After doing so, one may emerge forever changed, and hopefully wiser, ready to overcome whatever obstacles lie ahead.
Bringing back the classic line is generating plenty of coverage and elevating the Army on the media grid. Though it does feel a tad out of place in such a future-focused appeal.
"Most of our Gen Z audience has never heard 'Be All You Can Be,'" the Army concedes. "People of a certain age remember it from 40 years ago, but that’s two generations away from our prospects today."
But that's just fine, because the client isn't interested in nostalgia.
"When Gen Z heard the tagline in testing, they told us 'Be All You Can Be' perfectly summarized how they think about purpose, passion, community, and connection. Today’s youth want to be all they can be, but they just don’t know how. We know the Army can help, and we want to show them how."
Client: Army Enterprise Marketing Office
Client Team: MG Fink, CSM Alexander, COL Horning, LTC Johnson, LTC Gilbert, LTC Mace, LTC Hamper, LTC Castro, MAJ Sherrod, MAJ Huffman, MAJ Rubin
Army Historians: Glenn Williams, Lee Reynolds, Susan Thompson
Agency: Team DDB
Executive Creative Director: John Carstens
Group Creative Director: Julia Morra
Design Directors: Jason Miller, Sandra Ferreira
Creative Directors: Angela Paris, Bart Culberson, Ryan Carter, Yashas Mitta
Copywriters: Tim Koehler, Kevin Kleber, Slade Stone, Juan Moore, Ariana Poe
Art Directors: Matt Stein, Alejandro Hernan, James Selman, Joe Nemec
Executive Producer: Luke LiManni
Senior Film Producer: Kent Smith
Senior Stills Producers: Susan Cartland, Carla Nieto, Gina Muffoletto
Production Business Affairs: Jillian English, Venessa Merz
President: Chris Pultorak
Deputy Program Manager: Holly Springer
Mission Task Lead: Lindsey Mohlman
Marketing Director: Pat Book
Account Directors: Sam Padilla
Account Supervisor: Chandler Hrack
Account Executive: Reese Yale
Executive Strategy Director: Kevin Richey
Design Strategy Director: Matt Egan
Digital Strategy Director: Justin Hood
Group Strategy Director: Noelle Baer
Strategy Director: Juie Shah
Senior Strategists: Kriselda Sanchez, Naomi Cao
Strategist: Shawn Sullivan
Program Management Leads: Jenn Wong, Ingrid Rockovich
Project Managers: Rachel Fortunati, Mary Somma, Amanda Moran, Katie Mahoney
Contract Officer: Ron Davis
Contract Director: Stephen Zebrak
Celebrity and Influencer Specialist: Matt Fleming
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Rupert Sanders
Executive Producer: Ben Scandrett Smith, Emma Wilcockson
Producer: Laurie Boccaccio
Director of Photography: Steve Annis
Costume Designers: Kurt and Bart
Production Designer: Dominic Watkins
Production Supervisor: Moira Hurley
Editing Company: Work Editorial
Editors: Stewart Reeves, Leah Turner
Executive Producer: Marlo Baird
Producer: Juna Drougas
VFX Company: Framestore
Director of Production: Carla Attanasio
Executive Producer: Pete King
Senior Producer: Andrew McLintock
Associate Producer: Chloe Edwards
Creative Director: James Rogers
Shoot Supervisor: David Sudd
CG Supervisors: Brian Creasey, Kevin Baker, Cosku Ozdemir
Compositing Supervisor: Carlos Adarraga-Gomez
Head of Design: Timothy Williams
Color Grade: Traffik
Executive Producer: Meghan Lang Bice
Color Producer: Phoebe Torsilieri
Colorist: Ricky Gausis
Music Company: Radish Music
Music Supervisors: Alec Stern, Peymon Maskan
Music Coordinator: Jenna Wilson
Composers: Rob Simonsen, Taylor Lipari-Hassett
Audio Company: The Works
Head of Production: Brian Winterton
Studio Manager: Tom Syoen
Sound Designer/Mixer: David Axelbaum
Sound Designers: Justin Mayer, Gerard Collins
Stills Post: The Works
Studio Manager: Yvette Doud
Retouchers: Mickey Chesky, Mick Meyer
Digital Artists: Matt Holzman, Jenny Smith
Photography Company: Lovely Giant
Photographer: Christaan Felber
Executive Producer: Inna Khavinson
Production Manager: Claudia Bost