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Missile Maker's Goal: To Be American Icon

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Raytheon's first national image campaign makes an appeal to patriotism in an effort to position the client as a trusted corporate partner and American icon, not just a maker of missiles and other implements of war.

Work from independent shop Via, in Portland, Maine, which Raytheon hired in October, began rolling out last week in political and defense publications such as Defense News, National Journal, Aviation Week and Jane's Defense Weekly.

Ads tagged, "Customer success is our mission," focus on people rather than hardware in an attempt to humanize the giant defense contractor, an agency representative said.

One execution shows a firefighter looking into the distance. Copy reads, "When it comes to homeland security, anticipating the threat is the first critical step in overcoming it. ... Raytheon is sharing your mission."

Given Raytheon's status as a "hero" for its missiles' performance during the Gulf War, the positioning makes sense, said Tobe Berkovitz, communications professor at Boston University. "They're putting their product lines within the broader context of keeping America safe," he said.

Raytheon spent $4 million on media in 2001, but less than $1 million for the first 10 months of 2002, according to CMR.

The Via rep referred detailed questions about the campaign to Raytheon officials, who did not return calls.