Faced with the difficulty of recruiting during a long and unpopular war, the United States Marine Corps has started marketing itself to women in a concerted way for the first time, The New York Times reported Monday.
It is running ads in magazines such as Shape, Self and Fitness, which appeal mainly to female readers, as well as through more mainstream outlets such as the TV show “American Idol,” where the message is a unisex one of patriotism rather than macho swagger.
The Marine Corps still runs its traditional ads in male-oriented media but now is also showing a softer side. In the latest campaign, a print ad shows a female Marine striking a martial arts pose in front of a crowd of men who are looking up to her as their leader, the paper reported. The tag line: “There are no female Marines. Only Marines.”
The campaign is a big departure for the Marine Corps, which started accepting women for clerical duties in 1918 but until last year advertised to them only fitfully, the Times noted.
Women are not the only ones being courted, the Times reported. The Corps is reaching out to Latinos with ads in La Raza newspaper that emphasize family and honor (“Each unit in the Corps is a family, and each member knows they never stand alone”), and to Arab-Americans with a message about nationality and identity (“I am American. I am Arab. I am a Marine … I know where I stand”).
“We never used to have much of a targeting strategy — we were just looking for 18-24-year-old men,” Lt. Col. Mike Zeliff, assistant chief of staff for marketing and advertising for the Marines Corps in Quantico, Va., told the Times. “Today, we are more niche than ever.”