Don't be a snowflake - the British Army recruitment ads aren't a branding nightmare


Credit: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA

Karmarama's ad campaign for the UK Army has been met with online derision - but there's more to the promos than meets the eye.

It's happened again. The British Army has rolled out a new recruitment campaign, and eyes are all rolling on social media about various posters asking for 'snowflakes', 'binge gamers' and 'selfie addicts' to consider signing up to the military.

All the posters in the series use the derogatory slang today's millennials are used to hearing in what's obviously a 21st century spin on the legendary 'Lord Kitchener Wants You' adverts from 1914. Unfortunately though, aiming for the millennial generation in what may at first seem to be a blunt and heavy-handed way hasn't gone down well with some folk, in what's appearing to turn into an annual tradition.

You may remember after all that last year's 'This Is Belonging' campaign was deemed too PC and alienating for focusing on minorities and emotions, and there was a hell of a backlash against the dropping of age old slogan 'Be the Best', with the insinuation being that the UK military was no longer interested in maintaining high-standards.

It seems then the Army can't get it right - or, to be more precise, the creative agencies it hires can't get it right, but a closer look at the work of their current choice Karmarama reveals there's more at work here.

   
Credit: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA

Credit: MoD/Crown Copyright/PA

Ignoring the slang for one second, it's easy to appreciate the nice use of colour, contrast and type, and the illustrations of soldiers in a black and white style are quite classy. It's when you watch the accompanying TV promo (below) though that it all falls into place - this is a campaign designed to appeal to young people who are tired of how they're seen by older generations, and are ready to prove their potential. When these posters call them a snowflake, they're acknowledging the daftness of such stereotypes, and below the equally daft word show the reality - the true version of you, albeit one in uniform.

If a mistake has been made by Karmarama it's that not each part of the campaign works out of context. The TV spot gets it message across with no confusion in under 60 seconds, but the posters only make sense when placed with the advert. This is made worse considering the posters don't even have the luxury of a minute to make that key first impression. A few seconds, and it's game over.

It's an fascinating case of a singular brand message being spread across more than one platform, with the medium and tone disrupted as a result. The TV advert is realism-based and hits the key notes with its orchestral score, while the posters come across as sarky and desperate for attention. It's like Oscar bait sharing space with a BBC Three comedy, but in tandem they make a decent pairing - like a Mondo print for a particularly good indie dramedy.

That said though, we can't say we're not enjoying the faux-outrage on Twitter - without it, we probably wouldn't have got cracking spoofs like this from Bearded Genius.

 
Credit: BeardedGenius

2019 has got off to a great start, hasn't it?

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