Independence Day Viral Site is US Army Recruiting Tool

independence day us army mobile phoneThe US Army has teamed up with 20th Century Fox to create a viral video and responsive website promoting new film Independence Day: Resurgence that gives US Army recruiting access to users Facebook data to help target them in future campaigns.

The promotion focuses on the Earth Space Defense, a fictional anti-alien military force from the film, with the viral marketing urging fans to sign up to the ESD to access unique content and games related to the film, as well as “information about related careers in the actual US Army.”

The mini-games encourage fans to create a user profile to unlock further additional features using Facebooks social log-in tools, which would give the US Army direct access to users Facebook information.

The website was created by McCann Worldgroup, the US Armys advertising firm, and the entire viral site is hosted on the US Armys recruitment website, with links to US Army content scattered throughout the minisite.

The campaign reportedly forms part of a larger initiative by the US Armed Forces to appeal to young gamers and sci-fi fans. The US Army has worked closely with the films production, as it has in the past with films such as the Transformers series, Godzilla, Battleship and Iron Man.

Screenshot_2016-05-16-13-43-20“When you look at the past five or six years of military, Hollywood collaborations, they have mostly left the realistic war film genre and gone to sci-fi superhero movies,” said Roger Stahl, associate professor of communications at the University of Georgia, in an interview on the campaign with NPR.

“We provide support to the film and television industry for pictures that educate and inform Americans about their Army,” said Lt. Col. Steven R Cole, speaking about the Armys involvement in Warner Bros. 2014 film, Godzilla. “Some of the people who will be watching Godzilla arent watching the evening news or keeping up with the news about our troops in Afghanistan, but they may learn about the Army from watching this or any other movie or TV show that we supported or provided guidance for.”

Writer Jonathan McIntosh, who tweeted his experience of journeying through the site, suggested that this connection with sci-fi might be a way of avoiding reminding consumers of controversial recent military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, as “fighting space aliens avoids messy moral issues”.