The army has launched a new recruitment drive and no one is happy

Back of soldier and WW1 recruitment poster
Emily Apple

The army is starting 2019 with a recruitment drive. A series of images based on the classic World War 1 poster calls on “millennials”, “snowflakes”, “phone zombies”, “binge gamers” and “selfie addicts” to enlist.

But it seems no one is impressed.

Insulting people

Many social media users pointed out that insulting people isn’t really the best tactic to deploy when trying to get them to work for you:

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One Twitter post derided the campaign as “stereotyping and patronising”:

Another social media post summed up the general reaction:

The reality of war

Meanwhile, other Twitter users pointed out the reality of joining the army:

Another person highlighted the “chilling” underlying message of the posters:

This campaign comes amid more and more people protesting militarism. Writing in Left Foot Forward, Symon Hill from the Peace Pledge Union celebrated record numbers of people taking action in 2018. This included record sales of white poppies and that “Armed Forces Day events were met with protests in more places than at any time since the Day was introduced in 2009”.

Hill also issued a timely reminder about army recruitment:

Militarism is a class issue, with the army targeting the poorest and most disadvantaged young people for recruitment.


No one is happy

But the campaign didn’t just miss the mark with millennials. Even those supportive of the army weren’t happy:

And it was further pointed out how strange the recruitment drive is given the number of cuts the army has been forced to make in recent years:

The army is trying to show it is looking beyond usual stereotypes in its recruitment. It appears to have failed with this disastrous marketing campaign. But perhaps this is a good thing. Because usually military recruitment, as Hill points out, preys on poor and disadvantaged people, promising adventure and escape rather than killing, out-of-date equipment and lack of care for veterans.

So the fewer people fooled by military propaganda, the better.

Featured image via Flickr/U.S. Army Europe and Wikimedia

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