Come March 2017, the Marine Corps is temporarily ditching its iconic slogan “The Few, The Proud.” As part of a new advertising campaign, the military’s smallest branch is putting the long-running tagline on a hiatus, according to Marine Corps Times.
Now, before anyone starts spamming the comments section in all caps about how this is the end of the Marine Corps, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that “The Few, The Proud” has had a good run. Maybe, just maybe, it could use a break. After all, it’s been blasted across the television and plastered over recruiting station walls and posted up in barracks’ rooms of gung-ho boots since as far back as 1977.
While the slogan has done its job, which is to inspire potential Marines to take those first steps into their local recruiting office, the Corps wants the new commercials to answer one key question: What sets the Marines apart from any other branch?
It’s a question that has plagued the Marine Corps for a long time, with military brass following World War II going so far as to suggest the Marines be folded into the Army and Navy. Congressional and public support for the Marine Corps kept that from happening. Due in large part to the Corps’ image — people fucking loved Marines — and iconic photos like the flag raising on Iwo Jima only improved the American public’s opinion of the service.
Though the Corps’ future isn’t in jeopardy like it was then, it continues to take flak, from the critique that the Marine Corps has become superfluous in an age where amphibious landings under fire seem unlikely, to the endless jabs that it is becoming little more than a second Army.
In light of that, the Marines’ new approach makes sense. It comes down to showing why America needs them, instead of focusing on why it wants them.
The new recruiting campaign, set to debut this spring, will be broken into three themes. While it’s unclear what will play out in each ad, they will focus on making Marines, winning battles, and returning quality citizens to their communities.
Personally as a Marine veteran, I don’t understand why people keep asking why we need a Marine Corps or what makes us different. The answer seems obvious: We’re just better than everyone else.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to show why that’s true. So, maybe the Marine Corps is onto something with its new approach.