Patriotism is at an all-time low, and America’s confidence in the government is at an all-time low. In order to reach recruitment targets, the Pentagon decided to launch a Social Media Psy-Op featuring Army e-Girls. The US military allocates a budget of around one hundred million dollars per year for advertising alone. That budget includes a laundry list of paid “military influencers” such as Hayley Luhan also known as Lunch Bag Luhan.
Luhan is known for her proactive sense of humor, her friendship with Donald Trump’s son, and the fact she is not your everyday run-of-the-mill soldier, but a specialist in psyops or psychological operations. It appears her followers are aware of this, and they assume her account is part of a carefully designed marketing strategy. And they are right.
A recent study conducted by us researchers has revealed that most young people who join the army do so because they know someone already in service, such as a parent or relative. This is particularly true for those from low or middle-income families, who often join to gain free university tuition and other benefits. At the same time, wealthy Americans with critical thinking skills, rarely consider enlisting. In an attempt to target these groups, the US army has begun to employ influencers and celebrities to promote military life. However, the use of social media influencers also raises questions about whether using “psyops” themes can be off-putting for some ideologically minded young people and has led to further criticism of the army.
The effectiveness of advertising campaigns by the US Armed Forces has been called into question during the war on terror, where patriotic sentiment towards war was much lower than before.
Most of the US military’s advertising budget is now focused on social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram in order to reach new audiences and potentially motivate those considering enlistment into taking action. This campaign includes paying alternative media sources in the patriot community.