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USMC commercial to air Wednesday night

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

If you tune in to watch American Idol tonight, you'll catch a glimpse of Henry County. But you can't skip the commercials, or you'll miss it.

The United States Marine Corps will debut its new advertising campaign during the two-hour show. In October, the USMC Silent Drill Platoon and the production company "Tight" spent about half a day in Henry County in October filming portions of the commercial.

Ultimately, of the more than a dozen locations shot for the commercial, just nine appear in the minute-long spot. Though two locations in Henry County were chosen for filming - a farm near Smithfield and a horse farm in Pendleton - just one location was used in the commercial.

Staff Sergeant Brian J. Griffin, with the USMC's media relations division, said the scenes chosen for the commercial were iconic representations of America. Within the commercial, Griffin said, the marines represent a symbolic line of marines "standing ready to defend our nation from Rhode Island to San Francisco.'

"We wanted to look for iconic, scenic places across America," he said. 'What would people recognize, or when the think of America, what would they think of? The production company picked general locations and looked for America. that's what we found near (Smithfield), and Columbia, Tennessee, and Times Square.

"It was just something that when you saw it on the screen, there is no doubt in (your) mind that this is America."

Griffin said the Silent Drill Platoon was chosen to take part in the commercial "because they truly represent the Marine Corps and every sense of it - honor, courage and commitment.

"They are dedicated to this precision drill and what that shows is just a glimpse of how every Marine is dedicated to their lives within the Marine Corps."

The campaign, referred to as Our Marines, is unique for the USMC. The last campaign many people may remember is a campaign featuring a climber.

"This one, what we're looking for is to deepen the connection between the Marine Corps and the public. The reason is ... for the last 230 odd years, that's exactly what the Marines have done - we've defended the nation," Griffin said.

He added that Marines come from small town America, and there is a connection to the USMC in "every small town of America."

While Griffin said he did not know an exact air time for the commercial, there was a reason for choosing to debut the commercial during American Idol.

"It goes back to what the purpose of the commercial is ... to deepen our relationship with the American public," he said, saying the show will have "everyone we want ot talk to."

The commercial also will launch tonight on ourmarines.com, and marines.com. Griffin said the commercial also will air during the National Football League's AFC Championship.

E-mail us about this article at editor@hclocal.com.