Royal Marines campaign pays off

Challenge: The Royal Marines' "99.9% of people need not apply" campaign was hard-hitting, but unfortunately put off a lot of people who had the right qualities to apply.

Client: COI on behalf of CNR and the Royal Marines
Agency: I-Level
Lead planner: Tom Le Fanu

We needed to remove preconceptions that potential recruits might have, presenting a different side to the marines - not just as elite killers, but as normal guys who are just very focused and dedicated.

With extreme sports a mainstay of youth culture and the Extreme Sports channel at its forefront, the channel's demographic matched that of recruits.

We decided to partner with as it had filming and production facilities and its status would give us access to leading figures in extreme sports. At the centre of the partnership was the filming of three extreme sports challenges, in which marines would be put through their paces. They then had their chance to exact revenge on their own turf. Video allowed us to capture the excitement of the extreme sports and to show an informal, charismatic side of the marines.

The videos were hosted on a dedicated microsite and Users were offered advice and a planning tool for "how to get marine fit", branded wallpapers and screensavers. The aim was to give users something practical, more than a recruitment message. The three challenges highlighted key marine qualities of amphibiousness, agility and stealth and physicality. They were coasteering, where marines took the plunge off cliffs into icy Cornish waters; parkour, where they were taken free-running by Urban Freeflow in South London; and Snowdonia, where they took sports professionals climbing.

The campaign proved its value beyond what could have been achieved in a banner or 30-second spot and video proved the perfect medium for showing another side to the marines. The next three Potential Marines courses were booked to capacity, the videos were viewed 134,000 times, the marines microsite received 70,000 visits, 1,635 spots were shown on the Extreme TV channel and 2,400 spots were carried on Sky Mobile TV.

Tom Le Fanu, senior planner, I-Level
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