"Best" is such an arbitrary word. It's also very subjective. We have discussed on this forum so many times what constitutes the "Best". Best qualified; Most qualified; etc. We should be looking at it as trying to get the "BEST CLASS" of cadets POSSIBLE. And hopefully, they will graduate, get commissioned, and become the "Best Officer Year group" in the Air Force.
As of 2015, the air force consisted of:
313,242 Active Duty
When trying to describe the "BEST", you can't forget to include the word "Possible". There are too many possibilities to over simplify the objective of selecting "The Best". A 4.0gpa and 36ACT doesn't make someone "The Best". Being a 5 star national recruited athlete doesn't make someone "The best". (Don't worry, 5 star athletes don't look at the academies as an option".) Being white, black, hispanic, female, male, etc. doesn't make someone "The Best".
BUT..... when you combine all the human attributes together; academics, athletics, leadership, community, compassion, selflessness, integrity, discipline, maturity, and a host of other human qualities....... "Then you can find THE BEST". And an officer corp that represents the enlisted corp is PART of what makes "The Best"; for all of the qualities I mentioned above. And remember, the word "POSSIBLE" is equally important. Not all of "The best" are going to apply to the academies. Some will be at the traditional universities. Some won't go to college. I've met some people that never went to college that I would put in the category of "The Best".
As for the commercials, I see nothing wrong with them. Contrary to what some may think, the academies are not known to the majority of people. The majority know they exist, but most believe and think "It's not for them". I grew up exactly 96 miles from West Point and 209 miles from Annapolis. And NEITHER was considered an option for me. Not because of my grades; I was a very good student. It wasn't an option, because I was 17 years old, and I didn't have guidance counselors, parents, friends, teachers, etc. letting me know it was an option. I knew "JOINING THE MILITARY" was an option; but not that going to an academy, getting a degree, and getting commissioned was an option. And believe it not, MOST of the country still things that way. Those who know and understand what the academy truly is, think it's in line with Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. "Which academically it is". But most people don't realize that the Ivy League schools are an option for them. They automatically discard them as an option. Even though they more than qualify. Same with the academies. They don't think they are an option, so they discard it and look at other option. Those who don't know much if anything about the academies, think they are something you do ONCE YOU'RE IN THE MILITARY. I didn't realize the academy was an option until I was already enlisted, and too late because of age and marital status. I also didn't attend college immediately out of high school, because my parents said they couldn't afford it. And I never knew of any options for scholarships, grants, etc. I grew up thinking the only way you went to a good university; not counting "Community College"; was 1) You were wealthy; 2) You were #1-#2 graduating in your class; or 3) You were a SUPER-JOCK. And in new jersey where I grew up, we didn't have any "University of New Jersey". They had dinky schools like Princeton, Rutgers, and Montclair. Yes, in state students could go to the universities, but it still was a lot of money. So for me, I didn't KNOW of options. So, I enlisted. I went on to get 3 degrees. And I'm doing quite well actually. But I always wonder what my like would have turned out had I KNOWN of the academies, of scholarships, grants, and other options.
So, if commercials help the average kid; whether inner city, rural, or traditional suburbia know they have options, and the academies are some of those options, then that's great. That's why I've committed the last 25 years of my life to helping kids get into college. And many of them into the academies. Because I didn't KNOW I had options. And I want to make sure others know they DO HAVE OPTIONS. And if the advertising also helps get more diversity students in the selection pool, then that's great too. And don't worry about "Standards being lowered". The "STANDARDS" and what the quality of the appointees are; are "TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS". NO ONE is LOWER than the STANDARDS to get into the academy. But 90% of those entering, FAR EXCEED the standards. So I don't know what anyone could complain about. The standards are being well surpassed. Of course, the only complaints, are usually from those who CAN'T PROPERLY DEFINE "THE BEST". To most, "BEST" simply translates into GPA and ACT/SAT scores. That is so far from the truth.