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New recruiting ads focus on diversity

Ads spotlight minority Marines, in hopes of convincing more to join

Nov. 9, 2012 - 02:41PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 9, 2012 - 02:41PM  |  
Fighting with purpose
Fighting with purpose: A Marine Corps promotional video highlighting diversity and service at home.
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Marine Corps Recruiting Command's "Where I'm From" advertising campaign took top honors for Multiethnic Interactive Media at the American Advertising Federation Mosaic Awards in New York City on Oct. 2. It's Montford Point Marines campaign placed first in print advertising at the Association of National Advertisers Multicultural Excellence Awards in Miami on Oct. 30. Marine Corps illustration by Cpl. Nate Carberry (U.S. Marines)
1st Lt. Drexel King, an infantry officer assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, is featured in a new recruiting campaign that highlights diversity and emphasizes the importance of service at home and abroad. Courtesy of Marine Corps. ()

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps is launching a new diversity-focused recruiting blitz targeting potential officer candidates, and it emphasizes service at home and abroad as much as it does war fighting.

Beginning Nov. 8, the "Fighting with Purpose" campaign hit television, print and the web with primetime slots slated during professional football, basketball and college football games, as well as print ads planned for Sports Illustrated and Vibe magazine, among others.

The campaign's capstone is a set of two videos that follow the personal experiences of two Marines — a black male infantry officer and a Hispanic female aviator. The new ads are true to life and take a documentary approach, Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, the commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told Marine Corps Times.

First Lt. Drexel R. King, an 0302 infantry officer assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., is seen abroad in the war zone and helping others at home by mentoring high school football players and schoolchildren. In the video, he speaks about his personal convictions, and viewers hear from his parents and neighbors in Raleigh, N.C.

A second video follows Capt. Monica L. Meese, a 7557 KC-130J and Gulfstream 550 pilot with Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 1, out of Joint Base Andrews, Md. She is from Casa Grande, Ariz., where she teaches at a CrossFit gym and engages her community as a model citizen.

Historically, the officer corps has had a dearth of minorities. Officials hope that by improving diversity, the Corps will not only better reflect the nation it fights for, but enhance cultural and linguistic knowledge — a tactical advantage on the battlefield.

"If you look at diversity from just a racial context, you are missing the point," Osterman said. By showing King and Meese on non-combat operations, these ads also seek to target the so-called millennial generation, those born before 9/11 who are now coming of age and have a strong sense of service, community and family ties, he added.

"As part of war fighting, we have service to others — humanitarian operations and non-combatant type operations that are overseas," Osterman said. "… In other words, you can serve others abroad as we traditionally have done, but you can also serve at home in terms of being members of your community. That ties in with the three things we do: We make Marines, win battles and return quality citizens to the community."

The shift to highlight the humanitarian aspects of military service closely mirrors new campaigns in other services, including the Navy, which unveiled its "A Global Force For Good" slogan in 2009. But the Corps' approach is more measured than the Navy's, Osterman said.

The new "Fighting with Purpose" installment partners the ongoing national campaign "Towards the Sounds Of Chaos," unveiled in March. The latter uses imagery from downrange and of Marines helping in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and in Japan after the 2011 tsunami, which also aims to draw those with a sense of adventure.

"We wanted to make sure that as Afghanistan winds down, everybody understands we are not getting any less busy," Osterman said.

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