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The Navy's Slogans: The Words Set the Tone

Navy Recruiting Slogans

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Published: June 27, 2010
Updated: August 9, 2018

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For just about the entire time the United States Navy has been in existence, we have had slogans that were used to help recruit Sailors, but it wasn’t until 1973 that the need for a focused recruiting campaign became a true necessity. It was in 1973 that the draft had ended. It was the first year in modern times that our military had to recruit an “all volunteer force.” Each service could no longer count on conscription as a means to fill the ranks. True, the Navy really never counted on the draft, but it benefited greatly from the amount of people who sought out a Navy Recruiter before their draft number was announced, a good chunk in an effort to avoid service in the Army. Amazingly, every once and a while when I was serving as a Recruiter in the mid-80’s, someone would walk into the recruiting station and announce that they wanted to join the Navy “before they got drafted.”

In 1973, competition between the services for finding the best qualified applicant was on. It was time for the Navy to hire a full time advertising agency. The advertising company would have to research the target market and develop a plan to “sell” the Navy. It wasn’t going to be easy. The nation was just coming off an unpopular war, military pay was nothing to brag about, and it was a lifestyle that you could not “test drive” before you bought it.

Grey Advertising has the distinction of being the first. Grey Advertising was, and continues to be, a very well respected company who currently has clients like Coca-Cola and even the NFL, but only worked for the Navy for two years, from 1973 to 1975. They developed the “Be Someone Special” campaign that ran the duration of their contract.

What was the longest running, and arguably the most popular, slogan ever? “Navy. It’s Not Just A Job, It’s An Adventure”. It was developed by Bates Advertising in 1976. The slogan officially ran until 1986, but I must admit, I hardly remember Bates Advertising’s final contribution, “Live The Adventure” that ran from 1986 until 1988, and heck, I was even serving as a Recruiter during that time! Maybe that is why 1988 was the last year Bates Advertising worked with Navy Recruiting, or maybe it was just time for some fresh ideas…

Fresh ideas came at a relatively torrid pace once the next company entered the fray. “You Are Tomorrow; You Are The Navy” which ran from 1988 to 1990 was the first of three slogans created by BBDO Worldwide. They are famous for the “Have it your way” jingle for Burger King and two other fairly popular and effective campaigns used by the Navy, “You and the Navy Full Speed Ahead” that ran from 1990 to 1996, and “Let The Journey Begin” that lasted from 1996 until the start of the new millennium.

BBDO, so far, has the longest tenure of all the ad companies the Navy has used since the onset of the all volunteer force, but with their new contract, Campbell-Ewald should easily eclipse their record if they can complete the five year contract they won in May 2009.

Campbell-Ewald, best known for the creation of the popular “Like a Rock” campaign used by Chevrolet, hit the ground running with the slogan, “Navy, Accelerate Your Life” which ran from 2001 through 2009.

A Global Force, With A Human Touch
Until now, each recruiting campaign used by the Navy has been used to entice the target audience to seek more information regarding enlistment or commission – after all, they were developed for, and used by recruiting command, but for the first time, the latest slogan, “America’s Navy – A global force for good,” was actually created with the motivation of the entire service in mind. The mission of the Navy will always be to protect and defend our country against our enemies, and to ensure the United States and our allies can move freely on the world’s oceans, but now the Navy’s mission has been extended to include an even more humanitarian role.

Though partner nations, non-governmental organizations and other U.S. government and international agencies, the Navy has been executing a variety of humanitarian and civic assistance missions such as 2004 tsunami relief and the earthquake in Haiti. Most recently, the hospital ship, USNS Mercy, has embarked on “Pacific Partnership 2010” to assist those less fortunate in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Palau and Papua New Guinea.

Previously, the various slogans used by the Navy have set the tone for how Navy Recruiting Command will move forward in attaining the mission of finding and contracting enough quality personnel to ensure we maintain the manning requirements dictated by the President. Now, with the current campaign leading the way, because slogans will have to be multi-functional and all encompassing, I suggest in the future that the Navy’s major claimants participate in the creation, or at the very least provide feedback prior to a campaign’s approval.

The eighth official slogan for the Navy since the beginning of the All-Volunteer Force, “America’s Navy — A Global Force for Good”, officially ran from 2009 to 2014. Campbell-Ewald maintains its position as the Navy’s advertising agency, and according to the Navy Times article, they are currently running focus groups to develop the next slogan.

The ninth slogan, the generic, “America’s Navy”, ran as a simple brand from December 2014 until December 2017.

The tenth official Navy slogan was announced on December 5, 2017 — “America’s Navy, Forged by the Sea”. The Navy’s current advertising agency, Young & Rubicam, ended the slogan drought that began when the Navy abandoned “A Global Force for Good” back in December 2014. The new slogan is just in time to meet increased recruiting goals and a better economy.

December 15, 2014 UPDATE: The Navy has phased out, “Global Force for Good” as its official slogan. The Navy’s current slogan is just, “America’s Navy” — first reported by Navy Times’ reporter, Mark D. Faram, in the December 15, 2014 article, “Navy dumps unpopular recruiting slogan during Army game”.

December 5, 2017 UPDATE: The Navy announced the new slogan, America’s Navy, “Forged by the Sea”.

20 Responses to “Navy Recruiting Slogans”

  1. Mark Biolchino says:

    “Global Force for good” What? Who ever came up with that is a putz and never was in the navy I bet.
    The Navy is a force that finds enemies of America and goes and kills them. This is not the freeking boy scouts.
    This global crap must make the terrorist feel all warm and fuzzy.
    I served in the Navy for four years and will ever be proud. We were trained to take on our enemies and kick their asses. There was nothing “good” about it.

    Go back to “Life, Liberty, and the destruction of all who threaten u.s.

  2. Mark Biolchino says:

    If you “moderate” my comment its yours, not mine

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:

    I only moderate for spam. Well, and occasionally for gross misspelling/grammar, but not for content that is germane to the article.

  4. MMC(SS). says:

    Nice NCCM(Ret)! Mark, you need some aloe, cause you just got burned! The truth is that we do not only exist to destroy the enemy. That type of thinking is ignorant and stuck in the past. Be part of modern society that thinks more about the big picture Mark. Yes, we have big guns, and yes, we will use them if needed, but we don’t want to. Ever heard the phrase “Speak softly and carry a big stick”? If your frame of thinking were true, don’t you think it would have been, “F the stick, we have the biggest guns!” Just like your 4 years, I’m proud of my 12, but being command chief gives you a little bit bigger picture of what the Navy stands for.

  5. Kyle Sweet says:

    Navy, because you scored to high on the ASVAB to join the Army.

  6. Mark Biolchino says:

    First, my remarks were changed. I said the motto should be Life, Liberty , and the pursuit of all who threaten US” and to NCCM who “burned” me sooo bad with your remarks. You believe that because we live in “modern” times that anything is different from before? The study of History shows us that there is nothing new under the sun. If you were to read the works of Sun-Izu in his classic “The Art of War” you would learn that the passions that rule men have not changed in two thousand years,yes weapons have changed but tactics for the most part have remained pretty much the same. Wars and threats of war still utilize such things as deception and guile (nothing new there). You comment on my “frame of thinking is ignorant and stuck in the past”. Really? The reason for any Navy now or through out history has been to project the nations power to be a warning to any would-be enemy that that power could be turned against them if called upon to do so. You being a Command Chief for 12 years doesn’t make you any the wiser that me having “only” served four. You don’t know where my education and experience has taken me since 1972 when I left active duty just like I am unaware of what you have done since you left the Navy. Why did you leave after 12years? I’m sure a chief with such a handle on the “bigger picture” as yourself would be a real asset to the Navy if you had stayed for life. I knew chiefs who couldn’t pour pee out of a boot with instructions on the heal so don’t try to put your 12 against my four. GO NAVY

  7. Mark Biolchino says:

    To NCCM and MMC(SS) Do you have names or do you always sign off on what you publish with your rates? just curious that’s all. Should I call myself HM3? Just having a bit of fun after that tirade I just wrote out. Biolchino, M.W. HM3

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    First of all, I did not change your original post. And, my comment was not meant to be some sort of “burn”; I was stating fact — I only moderate for spam. Your first post is as you wrote it. As a matter of fact, I remember when you posted, and I remember thinking that you wanted me to change mine to yours in the original post but there was no mine in it. I am no longer confused about what you meant. Why would I have changed it to destruction? Doesn’t make sense.

    If you want to know my name, then follow the about me link.

  9. Mike says:

    Mark, I forgot all about this blog. My name is mike and I got out after 12 years because of cancer. I agree with you that there are many who should not be Chiefs, especially after the new mcpon rules. I was never implying that your 4 years was any less valuable than mine. I truly appreciate anyone who ever put on the uniform. Thanks for serving.

    Dr. Mike MMC(SS), NREMT, CCT, PhD, ABCs

  10. Mark Biolchino says:

    Couple points. I meant no offense to anyone who posted here and I certainly took none. just talk among sailors. Ok, I’m guilty of using the term destruction, you got me on that one. I hope all goes well as you fight your cancer. I can say nothing more on a subject that is inclusive in that only those who are dealing with it understand the fear and all others can only say words that they believe will comfort you.
    The trouble with letters and such is one is denied the intonation of voice and facial expressions and things can get lost in translation. At the end of the day we all have our service to be proud of.
    I wish all “fair winds and following seas” Sincerely, Mark W. Biolchino, MA (teacher)

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Mark and Mike,

    If y’all ever come through Memphis, first beer is on me!

  12. Mark Biolchino says:

    Thanks Chief, and the second beer is on me.

  13. Mike says:

    Agreed, never took offense to any of it. All in good fun. I live close to Memphis so I’ll just start at the first bar I cross and ask everyone I see if they want to buy me a drink. I’m sure this will assure we bump into each other.

  14. Joe Richardson says:

    I am a 20 year Retired United States Navy Veteran myself. I find alot of discussions very interesting.

    But really not clear cut. It is not just the personnel who have and is still serving. But the questions like “What is the Ultimate Goal and The Direction. It gets so cloudy in political agendas.

  15. Andrew Lawlor says:

    The slogan that was running when I was a teen and when I joined up, “Navy. It’s Not Just A Job, It’s An Adventure” – was the truest, most accurate and honest slogan I’ve ever seen.

    The absolute *best* years of my life were spent in service of my country in the Navy.

  16. JoAnn says:

    I went in under the “Accelerate Your Life” slogan and wondered why it was changed. It was a great slogan. Some of my best times were my 9 years in and the Navy gave me a life far exceeding what I would have had in my pissant little town. I do have to agree that the last slogan was pretty lame though. AM2

  17. jeanne-catherine. says:

    I just alluded to the “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure” slogan in creating an on-line profile for a woman who was actually in the Army. I remembered the slogan very well, but did not readily attribute it to the Navy – and interestingly, my own brother was a Navy man!
    Other than “The few, the proud, the Marines,” there is no other slogan quite so embedded in my psyche. For the record, I am not looking to offend anyone.
    During the week between Christmas and the New Year, I’m hoping to drive through Memphis, heading east to Gatlinburg and the Smokies. I would be delighted to join any of you for suds or pop or just some “down time” on that road trip.
    “Can’t we all just get along?” You folks have made me smile. Thanks for that! :-)

  18. Tori says:

    Forged by the Sea; Did/do Young & Rubicam not have any respect for small business owners that have already trademarked that slogan? Pretty sad to hear they used it anyways. Sure a small business may not be able to compare to the wonderful work that the Navy does for our country, but that shouldn’t mean that the advertising agency they use should stomp all over the average American’s dream and business that they put their life into. Makes you wonder if it’s worth it to put your life and heart into something, if bullies are just going to come in and abuse their title and power. I hope the Navy considers getting a new advertising agency, because who would want to pay a hefty amount of money for stolen work?

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you have registered the trademark, I would pursue legal action — at least talk to a lawyer.

  20. Dave says:

    Just found this and a bit late to offer a thought but maybe for another late arrival I’ll chime in with something not to far off topic. I joined in 1966 and received a Honorable Discharge in 1972 as a DC 2. My experience included twelve months in country in Vietnam and the rest along the west coast from the amphibious base in Coronado to north of Seattle. As I recall global peace and prosperity justified our existence although I don’t remember it as a slogan. There was a draft when I enlisted and many enlisted to avoid the Army. Any ideas I had about serving changed once I was in. I would not trade the experience for anything and would do it again. So, I wonder now, why emphasis on a slogan and advertising while the honor of serving seems to be neglected? Many active and retired are in the area where I now live. It’s great to be around so many quality people. The advertising slogans don’t come close to representing a Navy experience and the lifetime rewards for serving our country. Good posts here, sorry I found them so late.

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