Foreign Policy

Superman Used to Recruit for National Guard (Video)

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Superman has always been a patriotic comic book character, even fighting the Nazis in the 1940s.

The latest version of Superman, the movie blockbuster "Man of Steel," is being featured in advertisements for the National Guard (video below).

While the action hero comparison is mentioned numerous times in the ads, there is no mention of the National Guard actually being enlisted into foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for up to a year.

McClatchy News reported in March:

Since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, about 2.5 million members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and related Reserve and National Guard units have been deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, according to Department of Defense data.

The National Guard is just one of over 100 product placements that generated an estimated $160 million for Warner Bros. before the "Man Of Steel" reached theaters.

According to Mother Jones, the "Soldier of Steel" ad campaign includes commercials and theater spots directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed the film.

"This was definitely the biggest campaign [of its kind] we've ever done," Maj. Greg Galligan, of the Army National Guard's advertising branch, told Mother Jones. "And we are projecting an estimated 366 million impressions delivered through the 'Soldier of Steel' campaign...The military's values align with Superman's creed [so] this just made sense."

"Our research demonstrates that movie theaters are a great venue for reaching our key recruiting demographic of 17-24 year olds."

But are potential recruits being told the whole story, or just the Hollywood version? U.S. military suicides are at an all-time high and rape among service members makes headlines frequently. The National Guard are no longer "weekend warriors," but are being called upon to serve overseas just like any other branch of the U.S. military.

Source: Mother Jones and McClatchy News

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