The Marine Corps has always been an elite fighting force, but it may have outgrown its current recruiting slogan, "The Few. The Proud. The Marines."

So the Corps is exploring the possibility of using a new tagline with the service's upcoming advertising campaign, which is slated to launch next year, said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

"'The Few, The Proud' does a great job distinguishing ourselves from the other branches and making us prestigious to recruits, but it doesn't say anything about what we do or why we exist," Caldwell told Marine Corps Times. "We believe the new campaign products require a unique tagline to achieve the effort's objectives."

The Marines may replace the service's iconic recruiting slogan.


The new advertising campaign will show Americans how the Marine Corps is different from the other services and reinforce "the elite — almost spiritual — standards the nation has for Marines," Caldwell said. The service's contracted advertising agency J. Walter Thompson is creating campaign material.

"The new products are going to frame everything that we do as a fight — a fight that we intend to win," he said. 

Caldwell did not say specifically what the new advertising campaign will show, but he said it is based on three concepts: fighting self-doubt to become a Marine, fighting the nation's battles and fighting for what's right in our communities.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has already approved the new advertising strategy, which could include a new "tagline" at the end of recruiting materials that would replace "The Few, The Proud," Caldwell said.

"You have a narrative and it ends with a certain punctuation mark," he said. "We want that punctuation marker to be aligned with the messaging throughout the ad."

However, Caldwell stressed that replacing "The Few, The Proud" is not a focus of the new advertising campaign.

"A tagline is an element of the new creative," he said. "What we're looking for is consistent messaging from the beginning to the end of all those ads – so not to introduce a different or an incomplete thought associated with the new material."

Caldwell also made clear that the Marines are not looking for a new slogan that is more inclusive to women, who can now train for all combat jobs.

"It doesn't have anything to do with that," Caldwell said. "It has everything to do with clearly defining who we are and what we do as United States Marines. It's all about our irreducible fighting spirit. That's the fighting spirit of the organization and that's the fighting spirit of all its Marines."

MCRC expects to submit the proposed new advertising campaign to senior Marine Corps leadership for approval late this year or early in 2017, Caldwell said.

The Marine Corps has been known for their recruiting slogans dating back at least a century to "Tell That To The Marines." Other well-recognized taglines include "We Don't Promise a Rose Garden," "The Marine Corps Builds Men" and "The Change is Forever."

According to J. Walter Thompson, "The Few. The Proud. The Marines" has been in use since 1977, although it has not been the sole recruiting slogan of the past forty years: "If Everybody Could Get In The Marines, It Wouldn't Be The Marines" and "We're Looking for a Few Good Men" were put to use during the same time frame.

"Each of these taglines have served a distinct purpose to help solve the institution's needs in the different eras they have been called upon," Caldwell said.

Jeff Schogol is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. He can be reached at jschogol@marinecorpstimes.com