Marine Corps Recruiting

Corps debuts new recruiting commercial, targeting Gen Z

The latest Marine Corps Recruiting Command campaign is designed to reach prospects "who are disaffected and isolated in an increasingly mobile and digital world."

The Corps released its latest recruiting commercial on Thursday — in hopes of breaking through modern noise and convincing young adults the Marine Corps is the ideal place to find meaning and acceptance.

The commercial, titled “Battle to Belong,” starts in a dystopian future dominated by technology and information, overwhelming the main character, played by Marine Staff Sgt. Jordan Viches.

“Searching for meaning in a relentless world, always connected but somehow, alone,” the narrator says as Viches walks through the neon glow on the streets, where he confronts the commercial’s “villain."

Instead of facing off against a knight or a fire monster like Marine Corps commercials of the past, Viches is confronted by a holographic version of himself attempting to sell him the latest shoes or a gym membership.

“The avatar represents the shallow artificiality of the world he seeks to rise above,” Lt. Col. Christian Devine, the director of marketing and communications with Marine Corps Recruiting Command, said in a Friday email.

“Our hero must ‘break through’ the clutter in order to find a more meaningful place of belonging, purpose, and cause among those who seek the same."

The Marine in the commercial jumps through the allusion and is suddenly transported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, where he goes through a Marine Corps themed training montage, giving a glimpse into what new recruits go through to become a Marine.

“We felt it important now to try and differentiate ourselves from the other services by focusing on what makes our Corps unique ― the quality of our people, our commitment, and our fighting spirit,” Devine added.

The commercial attempts to tell those in the public who are searching for a meaning and connection in their life, that to join the Marine Corps is to enter into a family that is able to a make a difference in the world.

“The campaign idea focuses on both battles that are eternal to youth that must be overcome to earn our title (fear, doubt, hesitation), as well as those specific to Generation Z (loneliness, anxiety, lack of purpose)," Devine said, noting that the message is for all young men and women, but especially in the 17–24 year old demographic.

All the parts in the commercial are played by Marines and the music used was produced by active duty Marine musicians with a little help from Academy Awards and Grammy winner Hans Zimmer.

Zimmer, best known for his work producing scores for blockbuster movies like, “Gladiator,”“Dunkirk” and “Inception,” produced the score for the commercial, Gunnery Sgt. Justin Kronenberg, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told Marine Corps Times Friday.

The Corps' video was filmed at Parris Island, South Carolina, and shooting ended just in time to avoid being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Devine said.

“All of the footage that appears in the commercial was filmed between Feb. 26 and March 2, 2020, as originally planned,” Devine said.

After that, the Corps worked remotely with a team at Wunderman Thompson TK to finish editing and post-production work remotely.

The first case of non-travel-related COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Feb. 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Just two weeks later the Department of Defense issued a stop movement order, banning domestic travel for all personnel and families, Military Times previously reported.

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