Is Military Advertising Effective?

An Estimation Methodology and Applications to Recruiting in the 1980s and 90s

by James N. Dertouzos, Steven Garber

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The Department of Defense has been spending over $100 million annually on advertising to support recruiting. Previous econometric studies of military advertising's effectiveness have relied on data from time periods unlike today's and have used models possibly inappropriate for supporting decisionmakers addressing today's policy issues. This report details improved methods developed to assess military advertising's effectiveness and illustrates them using early 1980s and mid-1990s data. Several policy issues are addressed: How effective has advertising been in increasing enlistments? What media appear to be the most cost-effective? Will budget reallocation improve outcomes? Will an increased budget improve outcomes? An overview of trends in military advertising from 1986 to 1997 is included, as are the results of a search of literature on military advertising as well as in the areas of psychology, marketing, and economics pertaining to persuasion and consumer-product advertising. Application of the newly developed methods shows that the four services appear to have gained considerably from advertising and that in comparison to other alternatives, advertising appears to be an effective recruiting tool.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Overview of Military Advertising

  • Chapter Three

    Literature Review

  • Chapter Four

    Additional Conceptual Issues

  • Chapter Five

    Data Used to Develop New Methods for This Study

  • Chapter Six

    New Econometric Specification

  • Chapter Seven

    Estimates for the Army in the 1980s and Their Implications

  • Chapter Eight

    Advertising Effectiveness from 1993 to 1997

  • Chapter Nine

    Conclusions

  • Appendix

    Model Specification Tests and Time Period Comparisons

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center.

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