ARLINGTON, Va. — On the heels of the Army’s popular new “I became a soldier” advertising initiative, the National Guard has proudly announced its new slogan “Third to Fight” at Arlington Hall today.
“People love threes,” said National Guard Bureau Spokesman Johnny Anderson. “Third time’s the charm, three is company, the holy trinity. When we asked our focus group if they’d like to come in third in a very competitive race, like an Olympic Marathon, they all seemed to agree that third place is pretty good.”
“After all,” said Anderson, “It’s not who gets to the war first, it’s who stays for the next 14 years.”
The Army Marketing and Research group paired with a Madison Avenue advertising agency to research the new Army National Guard brand.
“Everything we heard was that Soldiers wanted a return to the kind of traditional, patriotism-focused marketing that the Marine Corps does so well.” said Alice Bettencourt of the Army Marketing and Research Group. “We toyed with a number of different slogans. ‘This we’ll defend’ was the favorite, but we’d really like the entire army to take that one, so it’s not fair for the Guard to hog it. ‘First to fight,’ was a hit, but we knew that if anyone could claim really being first to fight, it would be some special forces unit, or maybe the Marines, or let’s be honest — air power. So second to fight looked good, but that’s probably the Army Reserve. So as soon as we got to ‘Third to fight,’ it just felt like gold. We knew we’d hit on something really big.”
The slogan will be phased in as “Always Ready, Always there,” is phased out.
“The more we thought about it, the more it raised a lot of questions,” said Anderson. “What does ‘always’ really mean? We get a congressionally mandated 90 days to prepare for most things, which I guess could be ‘always.’ Where, exactly, is ‘there’? To be honest, it was a bit obtuse.”
“We’re part of America’s elite military, the less than 1 percent who serve their country,” added Anderson. “This slogan really drives the point home that with enough lead time, preferably a year, and a lot of personnel cross-leveling, volunteerism and equipment funding, we will be wherever the country needs us.”
The slogan has tested well with the initial research group.
“Third to fight sounds good,” said Brad Hayword, a high school senior standing outside his neighborhood recruiting station. “Being first to fight sounds kind of stupid. Those guys are gonna get killed or dead. Third’s okay with me — still on the winner’s platform. And the pay’s the same as the first to fight guy.”