The Magazine

How to Woo a Warrior

The National Guard, now showing at the multiplex.

Nov 3, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 08 • By JUSTIN SHUBOW
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Another noteworthy feature of "American Warrior" is the way it savvily targets red staters. Earnhardt is a hero to NASCAR fans, while Kid Rock, who hails from small-town Michigan, is famous for his impudent white-trash persona. The song itself was created by adding all new lyrics to the grinding southern riffs of Kid Rock's "Jackson, Mississippi," the opening line of which is sung in country-style harmony. That the ad is oriented toward the heartland reflects the fact that the military has for quite some time been disproportionately southern in its makeup-a phenomenon that can be attributed in large part to the longstanding importance of honor in the region, a value that blue staters often fail to comprehend.

By offering red-blooded males a blunt message of certitude with attitude, one that combines idealism with realism, the video's creators have produced a spot that shines by comparison with the Army's numerous marketing missteps-from the self-help "Be All That You Can Be" to the hyper-individualistic "Army of One" to the caveman-like solecism "Army Strong." Unlike all of these, "American Warrior" hits its marks with the precision and power of a laser-guided bomb.

Justin Shubow is assistant editor at Commentary.