The Navy spent approximately $1.8 million to air a commercial in 16 markets during Super Bowl Sunday.
The “Never” commercial featuring sailors talking about how they did not expect to have a career in the sea service is part of the “Forged By the Sea” ad campaign targeting the Gen-Z population that kicked off in October. Until the Super Bowl ad, the commercials were typically pushed on social media and streaming platforms.
“While most Navy advertising appears on the online and social media channels most popular with 17-to-24-year-olds, we are also looking for high-impact ways to share our messages with Gen Z’s primary influencers,” Navy Recruiting Command spokesperson Cmdr. David Benham said in an email. “Super Bowl commercials have significant reach with both prospective Sailors and their influencers.”
The 16 areas selected are those where the Navy typically has the highest return on investment, Benham said.
The Navy had previously dropped its television funding, choosing to focus on digital ads, USNI News reported in 2019. The Super Bowl commercial is the first one to air on television since then.
Benham did not say if there were more television ads planned.
“While digital and online advertising remain our primary focus, we will continue to seek strategic ways to optimize our return on our investment,” Benham said in his email.
The “Forged in Sea” campaign is meant to appeal to the Gen-Z population to demonstrate the opportunities they can have through a career in the Navy. The video featured during the Super Bowl is one of the three videos the Navy created as part of the current campaign iteration.
While the Navy hit recruitment goals for Fiscal Year 2022, the sea service needs to recruit more in Fiscal Year 2023 in order to meet its goals. The Navy’s goal for FY 2023 is 37,700 active-duty enlisted sailors in order to meet its project end strength.