Gawker has given us a fascinating collection of military recruiting ads from around the world, and like much culture these days, they show a strong American influence while nevertheless retaining their local character.
The Indian, French, and Australian ones essentially follow the American template: Join the military, and you will do a bunch of badass things yet also learn about computers and set yourself up for a great career once you're done (although the French soldier pauses from badassery long enough to make out with a beautiful girl -- hey, he's French -- and even hold his newborn baby). The Swedish one is highly weird, saying to Swedish girls, you can either go and be an au pair for a crazy American family, or you can drive a tank.
But the most compelling ones have to be the British and Lebanese ads. The first half of the British ad seems to be saying, "Join the military, and you'll have heavily armed, extremely agitated foreigners yell at you in a language you don't understand." Things turn out well in the end, but it's a rather subtle pitch, appealing not to the recruit's desire for action but to his interest in gaining a nuanced understanding of human psychology:
The Lebanese ad is interesting, coming from a country with such a long history of civil war and internal strife. It says that if you join the military, you will gain not just respect but the gratitude of Lebanese from all walks of life. It's actually quite moving:
And then there's the Singapore ad, in which a battleship transforms into a giant robot and fires a missile, while people walking on the dock seem not to notice. But maybe Singaporeans find that kind of thing tremendously persuasive.
-- Paul Waldman
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