The More Appealing the Core Offering, The Easier It Is To Promote

LA Times is running a story about the Navy upgrading its housing for junior officers in San Diego, Jacksonville and Norfolk.

To boost morale and reenlistment rates, the Navy and a private development firm have opened the first phase of Pacific Beacon, a $322-million high-rise housing project at Naval Base San Diego.
Four 18-story towers now surround a quad on what was once the base’s par-3 golf course. At full occupancy, the towers will accommodate 1,882 unmarried sailors in 941 apartments.
The project is reserved for ranks E-4 (petty officer 3rd class) through E-6 (petty officer 1st class). Rental rates are set below what sailors receive in their housing allowances. In San Diego, one of the most expensive housing markets with military bases, monthly allowances for those ranks range from $1,472 to $1,798.

While it’s a perk for these officers, the move is also an investment in the Navy brand and a reminder that there are many non-advertising investments that help to build brands. Maybe it’s a reminder we don’t need, since it’s so obvious, but what seems less obvious to me is the compelling need for brand builders, versus advertising specialists. It’s a not subtle distinction. Ad people make a product called advertising. Brand builders use every tool in the box to strengthen bonds with the customer.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. This move is a smart one for the Navy – it shows that it cares about its enlistees and that new prospects will be taken care of. This is a great way to start some word-of-mouth marketing as well, with the officers telling friends and family, who will tell friends and family. In this economy, some young people may see the Navy as a savior from getting a dead-end job or no job at all.