U. S. Military Commercials: Money Well Spent?




Merrill, Abigail

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This paper explores the effects of increased U.S. Military enlistment commercials on youths’ attitudes about war, military propensity levels, and levels of political efficacy and cynicism. The definition and purpose of military advertising and trends in military advertising after conversion from a draft to an All-Volunteer Force are also examined—particularly the question of whether generic or branch specific advertising campaigns are more effective and efficient. Current military enlistment commercials, the success or failures of certain taglines, advertising budgets, and cost per recruit are also investigated. Political media and advertising theories are applied to military commercials to gauge their effects on youth political efficacy and cynicism levels. While this study found no evidence that military commercials influence youths’ level of political efficacy and cynicism, results do indicate increased exposure to military commercials promote anti-war sentiment in youths, and they simultaneously failed to increase enlistment numbers.



Military advertising, Youth trends, Political efficacy and cynicism, All-Volunteer Force, Propensity


Merrill, A. R. (2012). <i>U. S. military commercials: Money well spent?</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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