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Navy to roll out new tagline, 'Forged by the Sea,' during Army-Navy gridiron tilt

Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem take part in man-overboard training in the South China Sea, July 10, 2017.

RYAN HARPER/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By WAYNE RISHER | The Commercial Appeal (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 5, 2017

Viewers of Saturday’s Army-Navy football game will witness a changing of the guard as the Navy kicks off a new, Memphis-made national recruiting campaign.

During the second quarter of the game in Philadelphia, CBS will air the first commercial using the Navy’s newest tagline, "Forged by the Sea."

It replaces a placeholder, “America’s Navy,” which subbed out the unpopular “A Global Force for Good” tagline in 2014.

The digital-heavy campaign is aimed at Centennials, those born roughly from 1995 to 2008.

“'The idea is trying to meet the market where the market is," said Rear Adm. Pete Garvin, commander of the Navy Recruiting Command in Millington.

The campaign is a product of more than a year of work by advertising and public relations giant Young & Rubicam. The New York-based firm won the account, worth as much as $457 million over five years, from the Navy’s 15-year incumbent ad agency.

About 80 percent of the creative work was done in Memphis, by a 60-person Young & Rubicam office that opened Downtown in 2016 and eight people at Burson Campaigns, an affiliated firm in Memphis. A small portion of work was done in Nashville.

Memphis was chosen to take the lead in part because of the proximity to the Millington-based Navy Recruiting Command, part of the Bureau of Navy Personnel.

“The Navy marketing and advertising campaign was born in Memphis,” said Garvin. “It’s been a great home to the Navy Recruiting Command since 1999.”

Garvin said TV and digital ads that will run this weekend are the beginning of an integrated marketing campaign that will fully roll out in March.

“The Navy is now recruiting young men and women of the Centennial Generation, who have different goals, expectations and media-consumption habits than their Millennial predecessors,” Garvin said.

“The young men and women of this generation are used to doing everything on digital platforms. The commercials aren’t a tired, old, standard military commercial of days gone by,” Garvin added.

The Forged by the Sea tagline will show up in various forms, including an in-stadium commercial, digital signs in the stadium and billboards, bus wraps and subway signs near the stadium. The ads will be complemented by content on Facebook and Twitter.

The Navy’s advertising and marketing agency, the Navy Partnership, led by Young & Rubicam, began research for the campaign in the summer of 2016. Researchers found nearly 100 percent of Centennials were aware of the Navy but virtually none understood its full mission, reach and influence.

Forged by the Sea “effectively communicates that the Navy has evolved in response to the sea and that sailors are tested and shaped by the Navy/sea experience, becoming better versions of themselves,” a release stated.

Garvin said Young & Rubicam “has brought a new life and new vigor to the program, so much so that they’ve invested a lot of their own. They’ve come down to invest in a Memphis office. It does appear to me to be much more than just a contract to them. They’re as excited about the brand as those in uniform are.”

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©2017 The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)
Visit The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) at www.commercialappeal.com
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