Watch how Royal Marines Commandos make pirates disappear

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Watch how Royal Marines Commandos make pirates disappear

The Background

Military briefs are both the most sought-after and overwhelming for a creative agency – mainly because both the subject matter and audiences can be darn tricky to grasp. 

The Royal Navy has launched a campaign promoting its amphibious fighting force, the Royal Marines Commandos.

The Big Idea

Set on an almost hyper-real island beach camp, the TV spot shows a group of pirates (hence the spot’s title) working away whilst their captain chillaxes by the TV. I couldn’t help but wonder what he’s watching – Pirates of the Carribbean? No, okay. 

Anyway, the captain then disappears out of shot, whilst his crew rush around to find their missing man. 

It ends with the line: "You won’t see us coming. You won’t see us leave." 

Spooky.

What They Did

The spot is central to the Royal Marines’ "It’s a state of mind" campaign, and will appear across broadcast television, cinema, video on demand and social media.

With a creative direction seemingly centred in the world of prestige gaming and TV or the new generation of smart action movies, you can feel a whole number of references from Batman to Bond, all implying that the role of a Navy person is as much brains as brawn.

Watch how Royal Marines Commandos make pirates disappear

The Review

One shot and one massive sense of anticipation, if not calculated unease – what isn’t there to like? 

It is true that military briefs need to be handled with the utmost care and delicacy, not least because the audience they’re trying to engage can be evasive enough when it comes to FMCG campaigns – let alone a career as potentially exacting as the Navy. 

This spot takes a relatively blunt tool (“you, the potential Navy person, will be a hero of sorts”) and uses it with ample style to elevate it above more familiar renditions of fighting for one’s country. The off-screen Navy person/people not only anonymises to protect against diversity issues – this could easily be a woman/group of women taking down the pirate leader – but it also leaves the skills or mindset needed open to interpretation, something that the infamous “snowflake” campaign did with less subtlety.

What I also enjoyed about this campaign is how quickly it connects you to footage of real Navy recruits in action. One could spend quite some time on YouTube consuming fairly basic, fairly emotionless films showing what the recruitment process actually looks like. 

Whilst this glossy spot is an effective wrapper, the real heroes are in those clips.

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Kev O’Sullivan

Kev O’Sullivan

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