United States Marine

Ad Review – Marines – “Toward the Sounds of Chaos”

Company:  United States Marine Corps

Campaign: ”Towards the Sounds of Chaos”

Campaign Theme in Haiku Format:

When things get crazy
Confusion and chaos reign.
Which way would you run?



Yes, this is an older ad (I believe it came out in early 2012), but it was on my mind as I watched the various videos of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  Every time I saw those horrible scenes of mayhem and terror, I was struck by the men and women – Boston Police, soldiers, civilians – whose first reaction was to run towards the epicenter of the horror.  Watching this ad again, I am struck by how eerily similar the first ten seconds of this commercial are to the videos in Boston after the first bomb went off.  Especially the screaming.

As for the ad itself, I really like this commercial.  It is gritty, it is honest (or as honest as a commercial for an occupation where death, dismemberment, and/or long-term mental illness are distinct possibilities).  Equally as impressive is avoiding most of the “Oorah” machismo that one usually sees in military advertising.  But the most impressive thing this ad does is speak effectively to two entirely different audiences at the same time.

Which way would you run?  The million dollar question that divides our two camps.

Obviously, the primary target audience are those men and women who would intentionally run towards chaos.  Those five little words (accompanied by the point of view video of a Marine running into some serious action) does a better job of explaining what being a Marine is all about than “The few.  The proud.  The Marines.” ever did.  If you brave enough to run to chaos, the Marines would love to talk to you.  If not, the closest you’ll get to being a Marine is a Sunday afternoon showing of “A Few Good Men” on TNT.

There are not too many ads where I am as far removed from the primary target audience as I am here.  Which way would I run?  This will come as no surprise to those who know me, but I am running away from chaos.  Far, far away.  As quickly as possible.  With Costanza-esque disregard for women and children.*

*More realistically, I’m probably going to curl up in the fetal position and hide or pretend to be dead until the threat of danger passes.  But doesn’t allow me the opportunity to link to a Seinfeld clip.  And I think it is slightly more manly to say that I’d run away instead of playing opossum.

I am a coward who has no desire to ever be anywhere close to Marine-level chaos.  And yet, this commercial still has a message for me.  The Marines would like to remind me (and the other chickens in my camp) that one of the reasons we continue to have our freedom, our rights, and our great nation is because there are people courageous enough to move towards evil and work to defeat it.  As we were reminded of in Boston, not all of these heroes are Marines, but the commercial is a good reminder of the debt of gratitude we all owe to those who serve, defend, and protect us.  God bless all of you, and I thank you.

One nit-pick with the ad:  I like the idea of showing the Marines hauling the boxes marked “Aid”, as supplying aid to people impacted by war, tyranny, and disaster is an important part of being in the armed forces.  But the very next image (around 0:36) is of a gunner in the helicopter, who looks like he about to rain bullets down on the folks receiving the aid.  Probably could have transitioned a little better there.  Otherwise, a very strong ad.

Overall Grade:  A

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