THE IMPACT OF ARMED FORCES ADVERTISING

Discussion in 'RLC' started by Ford_Prefect, Sep 19, 2005.

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  1. I was wondering if anybody has conducted a study to appraise the effects of Armed Forces advertising a few years after the campaign in any kind of qualitative sense. I remember before the Japs deployed to Iraq watching soldiers saying: “I joined the Army because they are the first to help after earthquakes etc and I always wanted to do something to help people.” I saw an advert for the RN on TV recently where some girl is helping a casualty on to a chopper after an environmental disaster and wondered if we weren’t in danger of convincing our recruiting pool that that is solely what we do.

    Obviously a few years ago there was the “to be Frank join the Army” campaign and whilst utter bullsh!t contained images of abseiling, windsurfing, assault courses, exercises and walking down the beach with a chick. I cannot help but think that this encouraged a more robust recruit better emotionally equipped to deal with high end warfighting.

    In short, the reason I ask this question is in an attempt to explain how we have ended up recently with an influx of abject mincers unable to cope with life, never mind life in the Army. Moreover I take a personal interest in why we now at Regts seem to receive Jnr Officers with minimum personality and maximum personal ambition.

    Obviously as a sideline we could talk about past advertising campaigns and their effectiveness in getting members to join; for Melchett this was no doubt an advert on the wireless!
     
  2. I dont think its anything to do with the advertising campaigns FP but probably more to do with the way our society in general is going. Its not as if there are loads of lantern jawed types ending up in accountancy due to lacklustre army adertising. As for personal ambition, have you seen what it costs to get a degree nowadays? theresa lot more competition now if you leave uni with a 2:1, survival of the fittest is the name of the game.

    I joined around the time of the 'Frank' ads. Lying cnuts, 8 1/2 years, never went windsurfing once!!!
     
  3. I recall the kerfuffle following the Falklands campaign when the RN suffered a (proportionally) greater number of battle stress casualties than the Army. One of the reasons cited was that they "didn't join the RN to fight" but rather to gain a trade, travel the foaming briney and all that stuff - all perfect reflections of the advertising of the time. There again, with the exception of the RM "what have you got" and "99.9% need not apply" campaigns, most if not all of the recent recruiting campaigns have tended to shy away from the "live in a hole, get shot at and beat up locals for amusement" school of attraction (presumably because there are not that many sociopaths, psychopaths and countryramblepaths that one can recruit and coralling them until there is a suitable theatre to unleash them into is a trifle high maintenance.)
    As to the abject mincer intake...... well, if we advertised for the craggy-jawed men of steel that we need (in a very non-sexual way, y'understand), the chances of our modern society turning them up on our doorstep would be minimal. So, cynically, (what, moi?)pitch the ads at getting the gullible in through the door, accept that you'll waste out a large quantity and pray that you can mould those who remain into something loosely approximating to a soldier.
    As to Melchers, although I canot claim to know him, it might be possible that the first he knew of being recruited was when the silver shilling at the base of his tankard clanked against his dentures.....
     
  4. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    Line_Grunt would be good to ask about that. After he left the BW he got into the whole "meeeeedjaa" thing and worked for DInfoA developing the army's web strategy.
     
  5. I fully agree that there is a sociological element to this problem. My grandfather ran away to sea at 14 and whilst that is one extreme I cannot understand the potential recruits whose mums protest when they say they are off to camp death (Deepcut) nor do I understand adult trained soldiers taking their washing home for their mum. I would just be interested to know if the measure of success for advertising is linked to quantities i.e. no of people who make enquiries, no of people who go to phase 1, no at phase 2, no in field Army. By a qualitative approach I mean has anyone asked the question how many of these actually make good soldiers or conversely how many make the kind of soldiers who dominate the UWO and Padre’s waking hours.

    Still if nothing else I would gain far more enjoyment from an advert that depicted soldiers adorned with drain pipe jeans and desert boots filling in some hippy in the Shot.
     
  6. Do you really think that the TV advertising is what is attracting the youth of today to sign up? I always put the recruitment down to the hands on approach of the individual teams that do the rounds at open days and fun fairs etc.... I can not visualise teenagers staying in watching television when they can be out playing footie or in killing some nazi on a pc game.

    I do believe that the officer recruitment is purely down to monetary incentive. Why pay for your degree and get into debt when you can have it all for free and in exchange give up three years and still get paid for it? I know this is an exaggeration but you get my drift. Please do not bombard me with minute fact, all I am saying is why would you want to join the army after slogging your guts out for a degree.

    I may be wrong but the reason the new recruits seem weak in comparison these days is down to socialisation. It is today's environment of namby pampy attitudes ie no smacking the kids, respect the kids, etc etc that is not allowing them to grow up in the real world. For heaven's sake half of them do not even know what the armed forces actually do for a living.

    Maybe instead of TV advertisements a schools regime of video and presentation would be more affective, with soldiers at hand to enthuse those that are truly motivated into joining for the proper reason and that is maintain peace and protect the crown and the flag.
     
  7. Just to add a little to Mata Hari's offering, we also perpetuate the "weakness" by subscribing in full to all the current human rights, social conscience etc type legislation. I know we have to accord all their rights but a small leaf out of the French Foreign Legion's book might be worth considering - something along the lines of "if you join our club you surrender certain, specified rights". Having said that, so doing would probably provoke a feeding frenzy amongst the legal sharks.......
     
  8. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    Of advertising, a copy of the magazine Camouflage came into my being just the other day. For those of you not aware, and being so obviously old and behind the curve as you so generously point out so may be wrong, it is a club run by the MoD to encourage youngsters to join the Army. Having read this quarters copy I can say it seems to be pushed at a good level for its intended audience. The articles are user friendly and capture the imagination. The format is also good, easy to understand, full of useful info (Junior officers could learn a thing or two from it I'm sure). Alot better than the simple block printed recruiting posters and enamelled signs in my day.

    Someone in recruitment must have stats for reasons joined such as being influenced directly advertising as opposed to family, friends, cadets and such like.
     
  9. The Youth of today is generally WEAK, lacking moral fibre and in for the easy option. They see quals and cash thrown at them and what do they do in return......very little!!!! Most struggle through phase 1 trg, most struggle through phase2 trg cause theyre always pissed and get passed for turning up and signing there name on a test paper. They get to the real army and struggle for four or five years till they get out or get their lance jack cause no-one else wants it.

    Regardless of what advertising we do we are going to get weaker and weaker individuals, having worked at an AYT and seeing them before they get to the recruiting office I know.

    God help us when Gulf War3 kicks off in another ten years time.
     
  10. Sh!t, is that why they are doing away with LSSA bonuses?
     
  11. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but I don't think the advertising attracts anyone over and above those who would/may have joined anyway. (Similarly, the merest hint of realism in the adverts may have assisted! 8O )

    The best recruiters are the wins eg after the Falklands many people thought that the forces were nails and were attracted to join a seemingly well led, well managed and well supported (both by news media and Govt) organisation. The public outcry about the standard of kit in that conflict resulted in the much improved equipment we have now (it might not be the best from 'Soldier of Fortune.com' but it is generally better).

    The media wins: The number of applications for the Army and Para Regt in particular soared after the series 'Paras'. It was a fair reflection on a hard course but was positive. The more recent series following the Royal Marines was less successful I think.

    The biggest influences on recruiting must be public situation and perception. The forces are perceived as hard work, under manned and over stretched. That is not going to attract anyone today. Couple that with an unpopular job/war and the current economic situation of plenty of work, why join the forces?

    What we needs is a good home defence situation (Scilly, Rockall, Wight - anywhere close ish and British), a recession, and the assination of BLiar. :p
     
  12. You would think so wouldn't you.

    Sadly we have allowed recruiting to become marketing and marketing to become advertising. Qualitative research amounts to a visiting Col or Brig asking for a show of hands from about as tame a focus group as you will ever get. And as long as the advert in the Daily Mail (I kid you not, it's what every prospective soldier and officer reads after all - FHM and Marie Claire are a figment of the younger generations imagination) carries the corporate branding and central contact number everyone is happy. Except possibly those of us who would like the odd recruit every now and then.

    [/rant]
     
  13. I work in advertising and we do regular campaigns for the armed forces. The trouble is I honestly feel we are targeting the wrong people. TV is less effective at reaching audiences now and new ways to engage people must be used.

    The army does have an audience demographic, yet some media channels used simply aren't talking to the right people.

    Additionally, I have first hand experience at the handling of potential recruits at AFCO level - and dire is the word I would use.

    Its not just the advertising that needs to be addressed - its the ways in which the recruits are handled at enquiry level. All the advertising in the world would be pointless if the whole process falls down at the AFCO.

    I did write a report on this - which if you want to see feel free to pm me.
     
  14. J_D

    J_D LE

    On a serious note:

    I have a friend over here in Cyprus, she is doing a Multimedia Degree at the local college. She is doing a case study on The British Armed Forces, in the media. She has only started her research and asked me if I knew of any one who would be willing to answer a few of her questions (sensible). If any one is willing to help her can you pm me and let me know please?
     
  15. I've only just applied, and in no way was i swayed to do so by advertising. In fact the only advertisement that I ever see is the one for joining the Royal marine Commandos. I don't know how it is for other people though.