Past, present, and future sailors… get ready to decelerate your life.
Actor Keith David’s 16-year reign as the stoic, yet soothing voice of America’s Navy has come to an end, UNSI News reports — a decision that had something to do with the sea service’s new half-billion-dollar media strategy, and included a commercial with a soundtrack befitting a fleet of Decepticons, not U.S. warships.
As many sailors and Marines (and, really, anyone who’s turned on a TV since 9/11) will recall, David’s sultry baritone provided the voiceovers for numerous recruiting commercials. The prolific actor — who also starred in the by-vets, for-vets dark comedy Range 15 — delivered recruiting taglines like “Accelerate your life” and “America’s Navy: a global force for good” with verve and forcefulness. His delivery paired well with heroic poses on carrier decks and barrel rolls in F/A-18s.
But now there’s a new Navy ad slogan — “Forged By The Sea” — and, as so often happens, a personnel change. The service’s move to drop David and his iconic voice from its ads was met by many sailors with a collective “Bro. Wtf. How did we fuck that up,” as one Navy petty officer lamented to Task & Purpose.
David’s early (and hopefully, temporary) departure could be seen as an opportunity, though: Who will be the new voice of the U.S. Navy? Task & Purpose has a few helpful suggestions on that; read on.
If you’re going to sell the free-world’s leader in disaster response and global strike capability, you want someone who can come across as comforting, but still a little intimidating. Morgan Freeman has played everything from God to gangsters. Also, you already know his bourbon-and-rocks voice can move any narrative along:
C’mon. You can already imagine Freeman channeling Shawshank Redemption for a rousing tale: Andy Dufresne, who had no business enlisting….
Pauly Shore could do for the Navy what In The Army Now did for the branch’s land-lubbing cousin, if you’re into that sorta thing. Want to rebrand the sea service as a fun adventure, and a home for goofballs and misfits?… wait, now that I think about it, I get the impression this is exactly not what the Navy wants.
Considering that the Navy is a water-based service, DeGeneres seems like a natural fit given her experience narrating sea stories: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”
And seeing as she has a penchant for giveaways, DeGeneres might make some waves at the next budget hearing, too: You get an F-35. You get an F-35! YOU GET AN F-35! And you, well we were going to give you a railgun, but we ran into some problems with that. So here’s a bunch of tungsten darts!
R. Lee Ermey
If the Navy’s looking to recruit adventure seekers, misery lovers, heartbreakers and life takers, then why not lean on the rage-filled-rantings of a man who sold “the crazy brave and phony tough” to a generation of future-Marines as Gunny Hartman in Full Metal Jacket?
Just reshoot this scene on a ship and you’ll have enlistees lining up outside the recruiting office in no time.
Scene: Gulf of Aden. Dead of night. Liam Neeson stands on the bridge of an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, speaking into a satellite phone to pirates who have commandeered a U.S.-flagged shipping vessel and taken the crew hostage.
Image via Taken
“If you are looking for ransom I can tell you we don’t negotiate with terrorists, but what we do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills which we have acquired over a 242-year career. Skills that make us a nightmare for people like you. If you let our ship and crew go now, that'll be the end of it… But if you don't, we will look for you, we will find you, and three Navy SEAL snipers will kill you with simultaneous headshots fired from the deck of a warship 100 yards away, at night."
Got any ideas of your own for the Navy’s next voice-over spokesman? Let us know in the comments or email James@taskandpurpose.com