Military branches open checkbook on Super Bowl pitch amid deepening recruiting crisis

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Multiple branches of the military will use the country’s most watched event of the year to make a pitch to young Americans as they seek to turn the tide of the ongoing recruiting crisis.

The military branches are turning to creative ways to reach young Americans during the Super Bowl, including buying traditional ad space and attempting to leverage social media to get attention as millions of Americans tune in for the big game, according to Military.com

The advertising push comes as multiple branches have been trying to reverse their recruiting fortunes, which saw the Army, Navy and Air Force all miss their targets last year. The Army, which has been the hardest hit by the crisis and came up 10,000 recruits short of its goal last year, purchased ad space for a dozen 30-second commercials on ViX and Paramount+, which will be streaming the game in Spanish, according to the report.

The Army considers Hispanics a key demographic to reach to help fill its recruiting shortfall, the report notes, as the group has had a disproportionate likelihood of joining the branch over the last few years.

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The Army has also purchased ad space on Reddit and Instagram in hopes of reaching young Americans engaged on social media during the game, according to the report.

Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for the Army said that the branch did not “have a Super Bowl marketing campaign,” but will be “leveraging our existing paid partnership with Univision focused on their Spanish broadcast of the Super Bowl.”

“This includes linear TV and Hispanic Streaming feed of the game simulcasted across UNow, VIX and Paramount+ Spanish Language streaming platforms,” the spokesperson added. “Our marketing strategy in support of Army recruiting remains to meet Gen Z where they are. Our campaigns and marketing efforts include digital media, streaming or online video, and robust and engaging social media content.”

The Air Force will also be highly visible during the game, with the service’s Thunderbirds set to do the flyover of Allegiant Stadium before the game. The branch has also created a filter on Snapchat designed to immerse fans in the stadium and at home during the flyover, releasing a QR code that will allow viewers to use a lens on the social media platform that will put them in the pilot’s seat.

“The front camera places the user in the pilot’s seat in Thunderbirds uniform flying over an aerial view of Las Vegas,” Barry Dickey, the Air Force Recruiting Service’s chief of strategic marketing, told Military.com. “”The back camera will activate the six F-16 Fighting Falcons in formation depending on where you are in the stadium.”

The Air Force has also purchased a 30-second ad that will be broadcast on the jumbotron during the game, according to the report.

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The in-stadium efforts come as the Air Force was involved throughout the week, including setting up a booth at the NFL experience, allowing recruits to get information on the benefits of joining the branch while meeting 22-year-old Air Force 2nd Lt. Madison Marsh, who recently just won 2024’s Miss America competition. Down the road, the branch partnered with the Las Vegas Sphere by providing images that will be used for 3-D advertising.

The Navy, meanwhile, will join the Air Force’s physical presence at the game with two members of the Navy Band taking the field for the joint military color guard before the game, a Navy spokesperson told Fox News Digital. In addition, the Navy “will air a 30-second, in-game Super Bowl commercial in 14 key recruiting markets throughout the country.”

“The featured creative will include two commercials from the Forged by the Sea ‘Never’ campaign, What Matters and Strong Enough, as well as new creative developed to promote the Navy Reserve, The Navy Reserve: The Navy Plus So Much More. In addition, the Navy will air a national commercial on Paramount Plus’ live stream of the Super Bowl,” the spokesperson said.

The Marine Corps, the only branch of the four to hit its recruiting goals last year, will not advertise during the Super Bowl, the report notes, though the service has purchased ad space to air four pre- and post-game commercials on Paramount+.

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Those ads will feature the Marine’s “Shifting Threats” advertising campaign, a branch spokesperson told Military.com, which is meant to raise the brand awareness of the branch.

“The centerpiece of the Marine Corps isn’t a platform; it’s the individual Marine,” Lt. Col. Rob Dolan, director of marketing and communication for Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told Military.com. “The concept behind the Shifting Threats campaign is to explain who we are and what we do for the nation while communicating the Marine Corps’ identity to this generation of prospective Marines.”

None of the branches disclosed how much money they were spending on their Super Bowl ad campaigns, according to Military.com, though the Super Bowl is typically one of the most expensive events to advertise during. 

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The Air Force and Marines did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.