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A new and elaborately produced television commercial dubbed “America’s Marines” was unveiled Wednesday night in a marquee time slot during FOX TV’s “American Idol.”

The 60-second ad portrays real-life Marines in dress blues in scenes from coast to coast, starting at a lighthouse in Rhode Island; running through several small towns and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains; and ending with Marines under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The Silent Drill Platoon is featured.

The ad underscores a shift in the way the Marine Corps markets itself. For years, the emphasis was placed on “personal transformation” in the process of becoming a Marine, highlighted in the longtime slogan: “The few, the proud, the Marines.”

“Our strategy has evolved beyond transformation,” said Lt. Col. Mike Zeliff, assistant chief of staff for marketing and advertising. “With this generation of young people, you have to go beyond what it is for them. … They really are concerned about the greater good.

“They may not know whether they want to join the Peace Corps or the Marine Corps,” Zeliff said.

The evocative images of the American landscape are designed to emphasize “the intangible benefits of service to country,” he added.

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