With New Multimedia Campaign, Marines Shine Light on Gentler Side of Service

Tweaks Messaging to Better Appeal to Millennials, Minorities

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Advertising campaigns for the U.S. Marine Corps have traditionally focused on the warrior aspect of service. A new multimedia effort launching this week strives to paint a more complete -- and even gentler -- picture of what being a Marine means.

At the core of the campaign, developed by JWT, is a TV commercial, "Toward the Sounds of Chaos," that will first air on Saturday evening during a college basketball championship game. While the spot shows Marines arriving by air, sea and foot with weapons in hand seemingly ready for battle, it also shows trucks and helicopters carrying boxes marked "Aid."

The digital extension of the campaign includes documentary-style videos posted on the Corps' Facebook page and on YouTube showing real footage of Marines in action on disaster-relief missions following natural disasters in Haiti and Japan.

"We wanted to broaden the scope of understanding for the millennial generation's perspective of what the Marine Corps does," said Major John Caldwell, assistant chief of staff/national director of public affairs for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

The new work comes on the heels of research commissioned by JWT, Atlanta, which found that only 42% of youth and young adults felt favorably toward the Marine Corps, compared with 60% of parents of that generation. The same research found that more than 70% of minority respondents surveyed believed that "Helping people in need, wherever they may live" was an important part of being a good citizen. Those findings, coupled with a continued focus on recruiting for diversity, led to a campaign that hoped to touch on more nuanced roles of this military branch.

"We're not recasting the Marine Corp into some kind of peace-keeping force," said Rob Quish, CEO of JWT, Atlanta. "But the digital campaign enables us to tell a longer story that being a Marine requires not only the right hand on the weapon, but also another hand to extend support."

That the web videos are cut from archived video allowed the Marine Corps to keep costs down when "everyone's budget is pressurized," Maj. Caldwell said.

Other aspects of the campaign include print ads and a newly designed website at Marines.com.

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