Army Recruitment Chief Defends 'Provocative' Ad Campaign

Assistant Director of Army Recruiting, Colonel Ben Wilde said the campaign is designed to "be a little provocative".

The Assistant Director of Army Recruiting has defended their new recruitment campaign which was unveiled on Thursday, saying the images of "snow flakes", "phone zombies", and "selfie addicts" are designed to "be a little provocative".

It is the third campaign of the 'This is Belonging' series, showing the essential skills needed in Army recruits, such as compassion, self-belief and focus.

In the first quarter of 2018, the outsourcing company Capita brought in fewer than one in 10 of the recruits needed by the Army.

Colonel Ben Wilde said he is not concerned about how the adverts will be perceived: "When they are seen in the context of the wider campaign, it’ll be identified that they are designed to be a little provocative, they are designed to catch attention and that they are the start of the campaign.

"Furthermore, they are intended to support the main underlying message of the campaign which is, 'We see potential in you that other elements of society don’t'.

"They attach pejorative labels to you to particular attributes that you have, in which we see potential.

"And this is something that we can develop into the sort of soldier or officer that can function in today’s society and today’s operational environment."

The Army's campaign was released to the public on Thursday

When asked whether the campaign could lead to different types of people signing up, Colonel Wilde responded: "Standards haven’t changed."

He continued: "There’s still an application and an assessment process that they go through that is still just as rigorous as it was.

"If someone’s not up to standard, if someone’s not strong enough, if someone is not mentally resilient enough, if someone is not a team player, they get filtered out and they don’t get in.

"That’s the same as it ever was.”

Army posters
A selection of posters from the new campaign (Picture: British Army).

Former Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, now an Honorary Colonel in the Army, said: "I think the poster ad is thought-provoking.

"I think there’ll be some people that will look at it and think, ‘Ooh, they’re going against a sort of generation’ but I think actually if the messaging around it is saying ‘Some people see you as, for example, a snowflake but we in the Army see you as someone very credible’.

"I think that will be a very powerful message as well."