In 1990, a Marine Corps recruiting ad alluded to close combat ― depicting a knight jousting enemies on a chess board.
But the threats shown in the Corps’ 2022 recruiting ad are different.
With a new commercial featuring an evacuation, a swarm of drones and precision fires, the Corps is making a statement about what it sees as the future of conflict.
The video highlights elements of Marine leadership’s Force Design 2030 initiative, which seeks to shift the branch’s focus more toward littoral operations and reconnaissance instead of land warfare.
The commercial begins with a coastal city crumbling to the ground. Marines rush to evacuate citizens, as a Marine’s voice reassures them in the background, “You’re going to be all right.”
“The future is threatened by enemies often unrelenting, unexpected and unpredictable,” the narrator says. “In the midst of an uncertain and evolving world, the need for Marines to defeat these shifting threats is critical.”
In the next scene, a group of Marines troop across a beach and through a jungle, alert for threats. Above them, birds rocket into the sky and morph into enemy drones.
But the Marines are ready. They take down three drones in quick succession with a Marine Air Defense Integrated System.
And as the scenery turns into wintry mountains, it becomes clear that the Marines have drones of their own. They use one to scope out an enemy position, which a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System soon takes out.
Cut to a naval warfare scenario: After a Marine scopes out an enemy ship, an F-35 drops its payload and destroys it.
This commercial wraps up as many of its predecessors do, with Marines in dress uniform, in this case holding the U.S. and Marine Corps flags.
“When there are battles to win for America’s future, there is one constant: Marines,” the narrator concludes.
The ad comes not even a month into the new fiscal year, amid recruiting challenges for the military.
Thanks to high retention in fiscal year 2022 that meant it required fewer new troops, the Marine Corps was the only branch other than the Space Force to meet its recent accession goals. But it didn’t meet them by much.
“This new advertising campaign conveys a single premise: Against ever-evolving threats, our Nation’s greatest asset is the adaptable skillset of Marines who fight and win,” the Marine Corps said in a press release announcing the commercial.
The commercial was released online on Thursday and will air on television on Saturday at the football game between the rival Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs, according to the press release.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.