Your coun­try still needs you, Bri­tish Army re­cruit­ment says

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Nation & World - By Katie Met­tler The Washington Post

The first time Lord Kitch­ener’s mug was used for Bri­tish Army re­cruit­ment, it was 1914 and the world was fight­ing the Great War.

Kitch­ener, serv­ing at the time as Bri­tish war min­is­ter, stared out from the cover of London Opin­ion mag­a­zine with a pointed fin­ger and sim­ple mes­sage: “Your Coun­try Needs You.”

The mag­a­zine cover was turned into a poster, with slightly dif­fer­ent word­ing un­der the se­nior mil­i­tary com­man­der’s stern face.

Then, coun­tries across the globe mim­icked the for­mat, with the United States re­plac­ing Kitch­ener with the fic­tional Un­cle Sam.

Now, the Bri­tish Army is re­viv­ing the his­toric slo­gan — with new faces and mes­sag­ing tar­get­ing mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z.

Dear “snowflakes,” the army needs you “and your com­pas­sion.” All the “selfie ad­dicts” out there? The mil­i­tary val­ues you “and your con­fi­dence,” too. And it’s ask­ing “phone zom­bies” to bring their “fo­cus” to war zones.

“Big gamers” are wanted for their “drive” and “Me Me Me Mil­len­ni­als” for their “self-be­lief.”

The posters are ac­com- panied by pro­mo­tional videos that show young peo­ple in mun­dane jobs or act­ing out the stereo­types that older gen­er­a­tions hold about those in their late teens and 20s.

The videos then cut to scenes of those same young peo­ple us­ing their fo­cus or com­pas­sion to ben­e­fit the Army. On so­cial me­dia, the pur­pose be­hind this strat­egy was put sim­ply: “The Army spots po­ten­tial. Even if oth­ers don’t.”

“The Army sees peo­ple dif­fer­ently and we are proud to look be­yond the stereo­types and spot the po­ten­tial in young peo­ple, from com­pas­sion to self­be­lief,” Maj. Gen. Paul Nan­son said in a state­ment. “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.”

In a news re­lease an­nounc­ing the new re­cruit­ing cam­paign, which launched last week, the Bri­tish Army said the “Your Army Needs You” mes­sage is the third in­stall­ment of the “This is Be­long­ing” se­ries — an ef­fort to paint the Army as wel­com­ing.

The first cam­paign, in 2017, fo­cused on “the emo­tional ben­e­fit of the strong bonds ex­pe­ri­enced in the Army,” ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

In 2018, the Army em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of di­ver­sity in the mil­i­tary.

The tar­geted cam­paign has led to an in­crease in Army job ap­pli­ca­tions for reg­u­lar sol­dier du­ties, which are at a five-year high, the re­lease said.

The Army has re­cently strug­gled to reach re­cruit­ing tar­gets. The Guardian re­ported that it “un­der­es­ti­mated the com­plex­ity of what it was try­ing to achieve” when it con­tracted Army re­cruit­ment work to Capita in 2012, ac­cord­ing to a Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice re­port in De­cem­ber.

Since the con­tract be­gan, the Army has missed all re­cruit­ing tar­gets, the Guardian re­ported.

The length of the process may have con­trib­uted to a pattern of peo­ple vol­un­tar­ily drop­ping out of the ap­pli­ca­tion process, the Army and Capita said in the re­port.

“Peo­ple are fun­da­men­tal to the Army,” said De­fense Sec­re­tary Gavin Wil­liamson. “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.

“Now all jobs in the Army are open to men and women,” Wil­liamson said. “The best just got bet­ter.”

UNITED KING­DOM MIN­ISTRY OF DE­FENCE

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