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GSD&M and the US Air Force show Top Gun fans who really owns the sky

GSD&M and the US Air Force show Top Gun fans who really owns the sky

The one-minute ad aims to build awareness for the Air Force and is running in movie theaters now.

by Shawn Paul Wood for Campaign US

If you plan to go to the movies anytime soon, you may experience a new advertising and recruiting campaign by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Omnicom agency GSD&M.

The one-minute Own the Sky spot features decorated USAF pilot Maj. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe, an F-35 Team Commander. The ad aims to build awareness for the USAF, specifically among fans waiting to see Top Gun: Maverick, showing that despite the Navy’s aviation supremacy on the big screen, it’s the USAF that carries the crown in real life.

“Our focus is to highlight what the U.S. Air Force is all about — airpower,” said Barry Dickey, director of strategic marketing for USAF recruiting service. “Many Americans are not fully aware of our mission and what we do, so we think of this as a vehicle to help create that awareness and engage them while they’re already in a mindset for this type of story.”

“It’s an incredible, and frankly unique, opportunity to align the U.S. Air Force brand within a culturally relevant and contextual environment, connecting directly to our core audience,” said Dave Kersey, GSD&M chief media officer. “Launching this effort around Top Gun: Maverick will inherently drive our audience’s attention while delivering a more robust and valuable experience to the viewer.”

The Austin, Texas-based agency has partnered with the USAF for more than two decades, so it understands the importance of trying to recruit the nation’s next generation of pilots.

“Own the Sky is one piece in our overall ongoing marketing efforts that recently have included actions such as our AR tactical flight game, Command the Stack, and another interactive experience, E.C.H.O. (Enhanced Cognitive Human Ops), that lets people test the same cognitive skills that airmen use every day,” continued Kersey.

Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, USAF recruiting service commander, offered a statement noting the advertising was created to unite, not divide, the Armed Forces.

“All branches benefit when Americans get to see such positive and realistic depictions of what we do when serving the country,” Thomas explained. “This isn’t Air Force vs. Navy; we want all viewers to consider serving their country no matter which branch they choose.”

The holistic program is slated to go beyond cinema until June 23, allowing for a continued conversation about the USAF via paid digital video and social environments, owned content and organic social media platforms.

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