New Army advert 'promotes emotional support' for recruits

Two female British soldiers on patrol in Lashkar Gah, AfghanistanImage copyright

The British Army is launching a £1.6m advertising campaign to demonstrate it can “emotionally and physically” support recruits from all backgrounds.

Last month, Army plans to ditch its “be the best” slogan and its crest logo were halted by the defence secretary.

The radio, TV and animated adverts will urge people to join up regardless of their ethnicity, gender or background.

They ask: “What if I get emotional?”, “Can I be gay in the Army?” and “Do I have to be a superhero?”

In one advert, a Muslim soldier explains how the army has allowed him to practice his faith.

The adverts, which are all voiced by serving soldiers, are part of the Army’s “belonging campaign”.

Recruitment struggle

The Army has been struggling to retain and recruit soldiers for a number of years.

Statistics show there were just over 82,000 UK regular forces Army personnel in October 2017, compared with nearly 103,000 five years before.

About 10% of members of the UK regular forces are women, and 7.5% come from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale says there have been accusations it is a soft campaign aimed at what some people dub the “snowflake generation” – and that the Army is pandering to political correctness.

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The Army put plans to abandon its crest on hold after opposition from the defence secretary

In December, the defence secretary ditched plans to scrap the Army’s “be the best” slogan.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the the Army was considering changing the phrase after criticism it was “dated, elitist and non-inclusive”.

The Army’s research also found its crest – depicting crossed swords, a crown and a lion – to be “non-inclusive” and recommended replacing both with a union jack with the word ARMY in bold underneath.

A spokesman for Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he believed the Army was “the best of the best” and that the rebrand proposals had been put on hold.

Last year, a campaign was used to promote what the Army calls the travel opportunities and friendships within its ranks to boost numbers.

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