16 May 2012

It Says More About Me Than I Care To Admit

Special Forces Recruitment Ad - 1976

I sat across from Army recruiter Dusty Rhodes in early May of 1976. A wooden name plate flanked by SFC chevrons was centered on his steel desk. He chain smoked Parliaments that he put out in a giant Army issue glass ash tray and two finger typed at a computer terminal.

"No, doesn't look good. You're too short."

"Too short?"

"Yeah, you gotta be five-ten to be an MP. I thought it might have changed by now but no luck."

"You mean it might change?"

"Sure. Hispanics are suing for discrimination. That sort'a thing. Could be next month or next year."

I stand. Shake Rhode's hand and head for the Air Force recruiter down the hall ignoring the Old Man's advice, "Join the Air Force as an MP and you'll be freezing your ass off guarding B-52s in Minot, North Dakota."

In the hallway is a poster. The understated graphic lends guts to the words, "It says more about you than you'd ever say about yourself." Words of comfort to a boy whose father always said, "You can't do anything right" and a mother who complained, "Nothing makes you happy." I'll be a Green Beret and everything will change.

MGB Ad - 1971

Little did I know the power and deception of Madison Avenue. Not to mention the plagiarism.


Oyster Guy said...

Just amazing...I can hear Edward Bernays clicking his heels from the great Beyond.

Anonymous said...

Man, caught between a rock and a hard place with those kind words from your folks. That's gotta suck. Not to mention leave a mark...and send a kid to the military.

Fantastic that you found and were able to cross-reference both ads. Could be coincidental, but like you, I think otherwise: An ad guy from the '70s with enough coke up his nose would have sold a stolen idea with a straight face to his boss and the client without blinking. Then again, you can't copyright ideas, so phrasing in a header is usually fair game, provided the products are dissimilar.

Bit of synchronicity: When I went on a whim to visit the Army recruiter after college I saw an Air Force poster on the outside hall wall and remembered what you once said to me: "If you're considering the Air Force, with your degree in geography they'll put you in Intelligence right away, because that's where the brains are." I didn't do it, because, while that may be true of the Air Force, I wasn't feeling very smart and didn't have the guts to take the leap.


Anonymous said...

I once heard that if you join the army you regret it for four years. If not don't join, you'll regret it for a lifetime.

Not surprisingly, this quote did not come from some guy recovering in Walter Reed. Probably some guy who got a cushy government job after guarding B-52s in Minot...


Dallas said...

MGs are for poofs. So that copywriting is dead on.

If your parents didn't tell you that kind of thing, you may not have turned out so well.

Anonymous said...

I thought you went in the Army not the Air Force

Anonymous said...

Join the Army in 1976 and become a speed bump as Soviet armies advance towards Bonn! As Hans-Dietrich Genscher said the difference between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons is that tactical nuclear weapons explode in Germany.

Anonymous said...

A boy named Sue ......

Oh, and the Air force is for Fags

Anonymous said...

"Is Lucas your roommate? You keep saying such awful things about him, whoever he is! How about if we recline here on the hood until the tow truck arrives? I certainly don't want to sit in the seats - they're still damp after the rain last week."