View Full Version : Recruiters advised to offer doughnuts, gifts, their time

12-04-05, 08:23 AM
Recruiters advised to offer doughnuts, gifts, their time
By Carol Ann Alaimo
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.04.2005

Like a car salesman closing a big deal, the Army leaves little to chance when wooing potential teen soldiers.

From dispensing free doughnuts to teachers to bringing flowers to secretaries, there's a wealth of schmoozing advice in the service's handbook for high school recruiters.

"Establishing rapport with school officials is a key step in maintaining access," says the introduction to the 10-page School Recruiting Program Handbook.

"Like a farmer who fails to guard the henhouse, we can easily lose our schools" without a winning plan, it says.

Among the strategies to heighten recruiter visibility and success:

"Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month."

Cozy up to the office staff. "Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary's week with a card or flowers."

Ally with influential students such as class officers and athletes. "The student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist, however they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist."

Offer to lead calisthenics for the football team. Try to "eat lunch in the school cafeteria several times each month. This will give you more visibility."

Pile some teens into a Humvee and drive it in the local Labor Day parade "with your future soldiers riding along."

Get involved in parent-teacher groups where "many parents will be pondering how they will finance their child's education."
Help out with school food drives for the needy and offer Army recruiting stations as food collection points.

Identify veterans and military reservists on the school staff and cultivate them as "centers of influence" who can portray the military positively.

The handbook stresses recruiters should be truthful with teens. It states:

"Present clear, accurate and complete information to students, giving honest answers on both positive and negative aspects of military life."

Several Tucson school officials said they have seen the Army and other services employing these tactics.

At Sunnyside High School, an Army recruiter brought coffee and doughnuts for the staff early in the school year, Principal Raul Nido said. At Santa Rita High School, a group of Marines chaperoned a school dance. Several schools said the services often provide promotional items such as calendars, pens and pencils with military logos.

Merrie Brucks, a marketing professor at the University of Arizona who researches selling techniques aimed at children, said many Army methods are identical to those used to sell cars, jeans and soft drinks. A high profile helps create an automatic predisposition toward a product, she said.

"When you see so many positive images of Coca-Cola, that can make you reach out for a Coke without even thinking about it," she said.

Brucks, whose own 17-year-old son, a senior at Catalina Foothills High School, has been bombarded with calls and brochures from military recruiters, said she questions whether the Army pitch is appropriate marketing for teens weighing "huge" career choices.

"I just worry about kids making impulse decisions. Boys, in particular, are very impulsive, and new research indicates that their reasoning ability is not even fully developed until they are about 20," Brucks said.

Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army's national recruiting headquarters, said the majority of new recruits don't enlist until they are of college age. The high school recruiting program helps the Army "plant the seed" so they might consider future military service, he said.

Techniques such as having recruiters take part in food drives are a way for the Army to give something back to the schools, Smith said.

"We don't want recruiters always going to the schools saying, 'Here's what you can do for me.' If we can do something to help, that is our way of trying to give to the community."

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or calaimo@azstarnet.com.


12-04-05, 11:15 AM
I guess when the Army shows up.. they need a lot more help than just their past, and current history to get them in the door.. why not rent them out as personal maids? if they are having to do all this CRAP to get close to doing their jobs (being a recruiter), donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month, Pile some teens into a Humvee, Ally with influential students, if the Army thinks things like this will help its image, by making their recuruiters be nothing more than maids and/or servents to the public.. what is the image that these actions project?.. to me is says, NEEDY and SUBservient, it's obvious that the Army command dont get it.. this is proof of that.. if they really thought these "policies" were the answer, would it not be better served if the officers were the ones "reaching out"?, and it would also stand to conclusion that the higher the rank, the more "in-touch" they would appear? that is the appearance they are trying to give is it not? who better than the Army's officers to do this? they are a P.C., touchy feely, bunch as a general rule of thumb are they not!

I submit.. it is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees. I dont think they understand this "concept" anymore.

12-04-05, 09:18 PM
why not rent them out as personal maids?

Come on, would you wan't them cleaning anything you own? I know I wouldn't. After 6 years of marriage my wife is still wondering why there's a can of NEVR-DULL next to my toothbrush...