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Marines seeking recruits

For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Marine Corps will air an ad during the Super Bowl, using an online-only spot Sunday to target a young, tough, tech-savvy audience for potential recruits looking for a challenge.

The high-powered, battle-heavy, 30-second ad shows Marines deploying from ships in amphibious vehicles, dropping bombs from aircraft and hurling a shoulder-launched drone into the air.

"It's not just the ships, the armour or the aircraft. It's something more. It's the will to fight and determination to win found inside each and every Marine that answers a nation's call," the announcer says, as the camera follows a squad of Marines storming off helicopters into a mock firefight while explosions erupt around them.

The goal, said Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, head of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, is to reach young men and women who have faced and conquered challenges in their life, probably played physical sports such as wrestling or rugby, and have a bit of that fighting spirit.

Network television viewers of the game won't see the Marine spot. But those watching through online streaming services — which charge a fraction of the advertising price — will see it twice.

"I'm not trying to enlist fathers or mothers, I'm trying to enlist 18- to 24-year-olds," said Kennedy. "And they tend to be cord cutters. They take in entertainment differently and they tend to do it on a device rather than a television."

The Marine Corps would not provide the exact cost because the specific pricing is proprietary. But the online ad represents a savings of nearly 85 per cent over the broadcast price. Thirty-second slots are going for more than $5 million for broadcast airtime alone. And the online ad — which can be viewed on www.marines.com — is expected to reach more than 20 million viewers.

As the military services struggle to meet recruitment goals in these times of low unemployment, they are competing for many of the same young people — physically fit high school graduates who can score 50 or higher on the military's aptitude test.

The Marine Corps is on target to meet its recruitment goal of about 38,000 for the budget year ending Sept. 30. But recruiters have historically found that the months of February through May are the toughest for finding new enlistments. By this time, many high school seniors have decided what they will do or what college they will attend.



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