The United States Marine Corps released a new recruiting commercial targeting Gen Z with a message that young adults will find meaning and acceptance in the Corps.
Titled “Battle to Belong,” the commercial features Marine Staff Sgt. Jordan Viches as he walks through a dark and damp city surrounded by overwhelming images and technology.
In the commercial, a gravely-voiced narrator says, “Searching for meaning in a relentless world. Always connected, but somehow alone.”
Viches walks through the dystopian city until he is confronted with a life-size holographic version of himself, who attempts to sell Viches new 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 the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told Military Times. “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.”
In the commercial, Viches lunges through the holographic image, shattering it before landing in muddy water in full Marine uniform with a rifle in hand. He has been transported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., where the Marine recruit then goes through a training montage.
“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 told Military Times.
The commercial promotes the idea that recruits will be, “awakened by a calling, united by purpose, defined by the cause you fight for” in their pursuit of a path that focuses on belonging. It targets all young men and women, but particularly those aged 17 to 24.
“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.
Every part of the commercial is played by real-life Marines. The music was produced by active-duty Marines with support from Academy Awards and Grammy winner Hans Zimmer, Military Times reported. The commercial was shot at Parris Island, South Carolina, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corps also released behind-the-scenes footage.
“All of the footage that appears in the commercial was filmed between February 26 and March 2, 2020, as originally planned,” Devine said.