The British Army’s new 2019 recruitment campaign is targeting snowflake millennials, binge gamers, and selfie addicts and the armed forces continue their drive to attract recruits from unconventional parts of society.
The new posters, which echo the famous Lord Kitchener recruitment poster of 1914 but no longer appealing to “Britons” have been launched along with a video campaign intending to highlight the oft-criticised flaws of young people and twist them as qualities the military might appreciate.
So-called “phone zombies” are praised for having focus, while “binge gamers” are said to possess drive. Other qualities the Army picks out in the new campaign by UK advertising firm Karmarama — who boast of being “the UK’s most progressive creative agency” — are the self-belief apparently possessed by millennials and the compassion of “snowflakes”.
The Army spots potential. Even if others don’t. #YourArmyNeedsYou Click here to #FindWhereYouBelong https://t.co/XtQ9U4igBs pic.twitter.com/nzle6KjypN
— Army Jobs (@armyjobs) January 3, 2019
African Soldier Sues British Army Over Cold Weather https://t.co/mVBv4IIq8N
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 28, 2018
In one of the video spots, the ability of a young man to stay up all night playing computer games is compared to soldiers on a Landrover night-time patrol in the African bush, and to an aid-rescue operation in a disaster zone. In another, a young woman putting up with being bullied at work for not fitting in with her colleagues is shown as having the patience and resilience needed in riot control operations, and sharpshooting.
Ironically, the campaign trying to attract “snowflake” millennials comes just days after a British Army soldier took the Ministry of Defence to court for making him go on exercises in cold weather.
The tagline of the campaign, “Your Army”, has echoes of the unofficial rebrand of the National Health Service, which is now exclusively called “Our NHS” by the political class.
British Army Recruitment Campaign Focuses on Islam, Sexual Diversity, Banishes Macho Image https://t.co/4t3RNZnZrg
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 10, 2018
Advertising industry publication Campaign reports the comments of Army recruiting boss Major General Paul Nanson, who said of the adverts: “The Army sees people differently and we are proud to look beyond the stereotypes and spot the potential in young people, from compassion to self-belief.
“We understand the drive they have to succeed and recognise their need for a bigger sense of purpose in a job where they can do something meaningful.”
Defence Minister Gavin Williamson said: “People are fundamental to the Army. The ‘Your Army needs you’ campaign is a powerful call to action that appeals to those seeking to make a difference as part of an innovative and inclusive team.
“It shows that time spent in the Army equips people with skills for life and provides comradeship, adventure and opportunity like no other job does.
“Now all jobs in the Army are open to men and women. The best just got better.”
British Forces Mired in Identity Politics, Army Winning ‘Race for Diversity’ https://t.co/zHJM1QZLOV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 8, 2018
The campaign comes amid ongoing controversy around Army recruiting, which was outsourced to private firm Capita in 2012, and has failed to bring in enough recruits every year since. Forces News reported in 2018 that the company “managed to bring in fewer than one in 10 of the recruits needed by the Army” that year — made up of just ten per cent of the officer recruits and seven per cent of the other ranks recruits the Army needed to sustain itself.
While all branches of the Armed forces are presently struggling to recruit, the Army is by far in the worst position among the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Royal Air Force.
Army recruiting saw further controversy with its 2018 campaign, which was perceived to focus too heavily on political correctness. The ‘Army Belonging 2018’ campaign’s videos sought to reassure would-be recruits that they would have no problem practising Islam and praying during exercises, being gay, and having emotional moments. Responding to the videos Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, a former commander of British operations in Afghanistan, criticised the campaign as failing to improve recruitment.