By Jim Michaels
Copyright 2014 USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Over its storied 238-year history the Marine Corps has built a powerful brand.
Only in recent years, however, has the Marine Corps and other services been able to capitalize on their reputations by selling agreements that allow businesses to purchase the right to use trademarked slogans or emblems on everything from coffee mugs and T-shirts to airsoft guns, which fire plastic pellets.
The Marine Corps' reputation and mystique sells particularly well. "It's taken 200 years to develop that reputation," said Jonathan Low, co-founder of Predictiv Consulting and a branding expert. "It's not something you can just create out of whole cloth overnight."
Consumers spend about $37 million annually on Marine Corps licensed merchandise, the service said.
The Marine Corps has registered a number of phrases, including the iconic, "The Few. The Proud," and Semper Fi, a Latin phrase meaning always faithful. Even the slogan, "Pain is weakness leaving the body," has been registered by the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps emblem, an eagle, globe and anchor, is also protected.