In 2008, in an unusual recruiting promotional move, the National Guard partnered with Kid Rock for his tribute song “Warrior“. From his early days, Kid Rock has always been an avid supporter of the U.S. military. The Rapper conducted USO (United Service Tours) around the time of the songs release. Additionally, his personal charity “The Kid Rock Foundation” has sent care packages to deployed service members for years.
The corresponding music video for the song highlights a military vehicles such as helicopters and Humvees. The video also shows footage of the National Guard’s official #88 sponsored stock car. The guard has since ended the NASCAR sponsorship after much criticism from Congress on the cost and effectiveness for recruiting. It is said that the sponsorship was costing the National Guard an estimated $38 million a year.
Besides the racetrack, the setting of the music video shows recreations of soldiers in action in today’s environment. At one point, a squad of U.S. soldiers are driving through a village and abruptly stopped by (what is assumed) an Afghan boy’s uncontrolled soccer ball. The soldier in the passenger’s seat climbs out of the vehicle and kicks the ball back to the boy who is all smiles.
The video also shows National Guardsman in action on a domestic mission. Guardsman are shown with local emergency responders with house fire. The footage symbolizes the guard’s domestic role of serving their states and local community in times of crisis.
Kid Rock is not the only artist that the National Guard has worked with directly. The National Guard also worked with southern rock band Three Door’s Down for their song “Citizen Soldier”. Although now uncommon, the National Guard used many different unconventional recruiting initiatives to bring in soldiers. After the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, and the escalation of fighting in Afghanistan…the National Guard was pressed to bring in more troops to fill ranks.
The National Guard has been more conservative of sponsorships since the financial crisis in 2008-2009. Now that the demand for more recruits has risen from the pentagon, perhaps the National Guard will look into more of these marketing tactics from that time period.