Magazine article Marketing

Army Ads Challenge Recruits

Magazine article Marketing

Army Ads Challenge Recruits

Article excerpt

Recruitment ads by Saatchi A Saatchi provide realistic images of army life while also targeting a specific type of applicant.

Army life used to be one long party, if previous recruitment campaigns were to be believed. But the more realistic image now being created by Saatchi & Saatchi is actually doing more to swell the ranks.

The change in fortunes that began when the agency took over the account in 1994 has blossomed, with a 25% increase in recruitment expected this year over the level of two years ago.

A current 30-second commercial, new in Adwatch at number 19 this week, shows a soldier hiding behind enemy lines and in mortal danger. But he keeps his head, pulls out his laptop and directs fire onto the target.

'Be the Best', says the strapline, emphasising challenges that require not just physical courage but imagination, skill and intelligence.

"We are trying to give an accurate picture of what someone in the army is expected to do," says Jeremy Pyne, group account director at Saatchi & Saatchi. "The commercial promotes two fundamental messages; that army life is high-tech, not just a matter of muscle and brawn, and that it uses skills that can be applied to civilian life."

Cheery images of socialising on the ski slopes and beaches have gone, in favour of a gritty, realistic approach. "The strategy used to be to encourage as many people as possible to enquire, but it led to too many unsuitable applications," says Pyne. "The new image is still intended to be exciting, but at the same time to screen out people who lack confidence."

Modernisation process

For an institution notoriously slow to modernise, the army has learned to compete and now seems as clued up about modern marketing as any corporation.

In 1992 its size was slashed from 145,000 to 116,000, reinforcing the post-Cold War perception that soldiers weren't needed. …

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