Digital@jwt Breaks Marine Campaign, Site

NEW YORK — Digital@jwt has launched the first significant online campaign for the U.S. Marine Corp. that aims to drive prospects to a redesigned Web site. The site, in turn, looks to increase face-to-face meetings between prospects and recruiters, said Kristin Wiggins, director of digital@jwt in Atlanta.

The first phase of the campaign, which primarily targets 16- to 24-year-olds, will run through Dec. 15 across AOL on its sports, electronic arts, gaming and other channels.

One banner features three servicemen in their Marine dress blues and states, “Those who belong have the respect of the nation and the pride that comes with carving a place in history.” It then proposes, “Maybe you can be one of us.”

Another ad, due to appear on the gaming channel of AOL, is a game that encourages users to “catch” the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, the Marine emblem that symbolizes distant service under the American eagle by air, land and sea. The objective of the game is to try to click on the symbol as it moves speedily around the ad unit.

All online ads direct people to the Marines new Web site ( http://www.marines.com/ ), also designed by digital@jwt, the interactive arm of J. Walter Thompson. The main goal of the site is to drive prospects to meet with a Marines recruiter, said Wiggins.

Three different tracks on the site reinforce the core brand attributes of the Marines, Wiggins said. The track for “those who are warriors” emphasizes that Marines are “elite warriors,” whereas the one for “those who are driven” stresses the “transformation that occurs when a young person earns the right to be called a Marine.” The track for “those who belong” underscores Marines’ commitment to each other, which is summed up in the motto “Semper Fidelis,” Latin for “Always Faithful.” The old site, launched by digital@jwt in February 2000, had only one navigation track.

Prospects can also find out more information about their potential role in the Marines based on their education level. In addition to prospects, the site targets the general public with a section that covers the history and traditions of the Marines, as well as parents and advisors with a section that addresses their questions and allows them to make a referral.

digital@jwt, which has handled interactive duties for the Marines since 1999, borrowed the Web site’s central image of a recruit dangling from a cliff from the latest TV spot from JWT in Atlanta, which has held the general ad account for 55 years.

About 20-30 Marines worked on the project with digital@jwt, said Wiggins. The Atlanta office of digital@jwt oversaw project management and creative strategy and direction, while the Chicago and Minneapolis offices handled production and development of the online ads and Web site, respectively, she said.

The second and third phases of the online branding effort, scheduled for the first half of next year, will use rich media and large format ads in an effort to influence people’s perceptions of the Marines, Wiggins said. The budget was not disclosed, but Wiggins said results from the campaign will help determine whether the Internet is an effective medium to reach the Marines’ target audience.