The British Army this weekend debuted a major new campaign that focuses on "belonging," aimed at boosting falling recruitment by showing all recruits are welcome. Addressing sensitive issues of sexuality, religion and emotional doubts that might hinder people from joining the military, the ads, by Karmarama, have already been deemed controversial, with some asking whether they are catering to the "snowflake" generation by being overly politically correct.
The campaign includes a series of online animations, created with production house We Are Royale, that address questions such as "Can I be gay in the Army?" (seen here), "Can I practice my faith in the Army?" and "What if I get emotional in the Army?" Another is voiced by a female soldier who says she worried about whether she would be listened to. The films are based on the stories of real-life soldiers.
These are accompanied by several TV spots, which address similar scenarios: we see a soldier getting emotional reading a note from home, a Muslim soldier praying while in the field, and a group of soldiers joke around on a military aircraft. Another soldier faces his fear of being unfit by doing pull-ups, while another spot features a black soldier who discovers that the Army means he will be "listened to." All carry the tagline "this is belonging." The live action spots are directed by Academy directors Frederic Planchon and Si & Ad.
Details of the campaign were leaked last week to the British media, prompting a range of opinions. Some former soliders have accused the campaign of being too politcally correct, while an article by Catherine Bennett in the Observer says the campaign "fails to mention poor pay and conditions and the need to kill." But according to the BBC, General Sir Nick Carter, head of the Army, responded to criticism by saying the campaign reflects the U.K.'s changing demography.