View Full Version : Silent Drill Platoon takes on recruiting ad mission

10-14-07, 05:44 PM
Silent Drill Platoon takes on recruiting ad mission
By Patricia Kime - pkime@militarytimes.com
Posted : October 22, 2007

Need to shout out the Corps’ message? Try using the Silent Drill Platoon.

From the folks who brought you the Marine Corps’ 1971 “Rose Garden” recruiting ad, its 1980s Arthurian sword commercial and, more recently, a spot featuring a Marine scaling a cliff with moxie (and inspiration from those who’ve gone before) comes a new advertising campaign using everyone’s favorite rifle tossers.

Welcome to “America’s Marines.”

JWT, formerly J. Walter Thompson, and the Marine Corps are teaming up again on a new recruiting campaign they hope will have more impact than a single commercial. This effort targets the American public, including the “influencers” – parents, teachers, mentors and the general public — in contact with the teens who are tomorrow’s Marines.

“Two generations of an all-volunteer force has separated the military from Americans. Most interaction they have with service members is, maybe, in an airport. We need to reconnect,” JWT ad-man Carl Warner said Oct. 11.

The “America’s Marines” campaign will showcase the Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks Washington D.C. in settings from coast to coast. A commercial is planned for roll-out in February, but JWT and the Corps already are posting vignettes and mini-documentaries about the effort at our.marines.com.

On the Web site, visitors can see footage and photos of the Marines’ video shoots in Nashville and elsewhere. The platoon has performed for cameras and the public in places such as New York’s Time Square, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

“Nashville had a hometown America feel written all over it. And that’s what we want to get across. A Marine’s a Marine, but when you get down to it, they are just like everyone else: they are from these hometowns,” said spokesman Sgt. Brian Griffin.

The Corps chose to use the Silent Drill Platoon because its performances symbolize what the service is about, Griffin explained. The platoon has been filmed at eight locations and will be dispatched to two more, including the Grand Canyon on Oct. 22, before it’s all over.

“The Silent Drill Platoon is the perfect example of Marine Corps ambassador. They show the dedication and commitment it takes to be a Marine and the precision that all Marines put into their profession,” Griffin said.

But the effort has not been without its setbacks.

In San Francisco, the city’s film commissioner denied the Marines a permit to film on California Street, known for its trolleys and city skyline views.

Commissioner Stefanie Coyote cited traffic concerns as the reason she ruled against the Marines.

But critics said it’s because the city is anti-military. San Francisco has banned performances by the Blue Angels and in 2005 voted against the battleship Iowa relocating there as a maritime museum.

Like good Marines, however, the Silent Drill Platoon had a contingency plan.

“We ended up shooting at Kirby Cove. We got a truly amazing photo with the sun rising over the Golden Gate. It’s an iconic photo for what we are trying to say — Marines protecting the shores 24 hours a day, 7-days a week,” Griffin said.

Both JWT and the Marine Corps aim for the campaign to be more than simply a single commercial. The Web site features links for Marines to post stories about why they joined the Corps and links for the public to post why they love Marines.

“The whole campaign is designed to be a dialog and between the Marine Corps and the public. Hopefully, the Marines that are deployed forward can get online and see there’s a huge amount of support for what they are doing,” Warner said.

“The generation of Marines coming in now are truly heroes because of the time they are coming in. They are smart elite young men and women who earned the title. That’s what we want to show,” Griffin added.

The Silent Drill Platoon is scheduled to perform – and be filmed — at the Grand Canyon’s rim on Oct. 22.