Try Not To Get Lost During The Navy's New Recruiting Ad


Navy SEALs conduct a boarding operation while a large orb looms overhead, ominous and red. Fighter jets fly in formation past the slightly reflective sphere. An explosive ordinance disposal team detonate what appears to be an IED somewhere in the desert. And all the while, that big red ball just hangs around.

If you haven’t seen the Navy’s newest recruiting commercial, this must seem very confusing. But, then again --- if you have seen it, you might still be a little lost. Built around the idea of a pin map, the advertisement depicts a series of different missions, in a wide variety of locations, showcasing the Navy’s diversity as well as its global presence. It’s also a bit jarring, but that’s less of a critique than it initially seems.

The use of these pins hovering over sailors on ships, climbing mountains, or in the air, is actually a lot more clever than it at first appears. The audience is presented with a strange image and has to puzzle the meaning out of it --- or in this case, wait until the end of the advertisement to realize what’s going on. It’s not a new concept; think about those crazy gum commercials from a few years ago. Many other advertisers and groups use the same trick, but it’s the first time we’ve seen the Navy try it.

This is a far cry from the standard fare of military commercials, which are packed full of so much motivation most people feel compelled to sprint out of the room and away from the television.

The new commercial is "a pretty big departure from the themes and images of the early 'Global Force for Good' commercials,'" said Cmdr. Chris Servello, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, during an interview with Navy Times.

The fact that the short video uses the “pin drop” from mobile navigation apps may also indicate a shift in attention and target audience; or rather, an acknowledgement that the Navy needs to actually target and appeal to its base: young adults who are likely to, or already have enlisted, as junior sailors. The Navy’s struggle with retention rates may be a reflection of the service’s relationship with its most junior personnel, more and more of whom aren’t feeling reflected or represented by the branch’s policies.

This ad follows on the tail of “The Shield,” which prominently features sailors from a wide range of occupational specialties and appears to be an attempt to show the Navy’s diversity presumably to reassure current personnel and future sailors that they will be a valued part of a larger team. Whether or not that’s true is yet to be seen.

“The simple take away from both commercials: America's Navy keeps us safe at home and protects interests abroad through our ability to be present around the world — where it matters, when it matters — with the latest technology and top notch sailors," said Servello.

Watch the Navy’s latest recruiting ad here on Youtube.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

Read More Show Less
Saturday Night Live/screenshot

President Donald Trump said that "retribution" should be "looked into" after this week's opening skit of Saturday Night Live featured Alec Baldwin being mean to him again.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Read More Show Less
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

Read More Show Less