New posters pay homage to the famous Lord Kitchener “Your army needs you” First World War recruitment campaign, while TV adverts target those unhappy in their work.
The recruitment drive is designed to focus on “how the army sees beyond stereotypes to spot young people’s potential”, the Ministry of Defence said.
The army is struggling to maintain recruitment levels, with around 4,000 places to be filled. There are 79,640 soldiers currently serving, short of the required 83,500, and recruitment rates have declined since last year.
The army said the TV adverts tell the stories of individuals whose perceived weaknesses are seen as strengths by the army.
One advert shows a father talking about his son who is staying up late playing what appears to be a fantasy video game in the sitting room.
“Can’t get him off that thing. Up all night he is,” the father says. The scene cuts to the son working in a war zone. “Stamina,” a voiceover says. “Don’t underestimate it.”
A helicopter buzzes overhead as people on stretchers are evacuated. “Dedication,” an off screen male voice is heard saying. “That’s just what we need,” a female soldier running between vehicles shouts.
The camera then focuses on the gamer’s eyes as the advert ends with a pulsating bass synth sound.
The TV adverts are complemented by six posters all referencing perceptions of those born between the 1980s and 2000s – that millennials are lazy, self-obsessed, sensitive and immersed in consumer technology.
One poster reads: “Snowflakes, your army needs you and your compassion”.
Another says: “Phone zombies, your army needs you and your focus”.
And another says: “Selfie addicts, your army needs you and your confidence”.
Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, said: “People are fundamental to the army. 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.
“It shows that time spent in the army equips people with skills for life and provides comradeship, adventure and opportunity like no other job does.”
“All jobs in the army are open to men and women,” he said.
Major General Paul Nanson, head of army recruiting, said: “The army sees people differently and we are proud to look beyond the stereotypes and spot the potential in young people, from compassion to self-belief.
“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.”
The MoD said 72 per cent of young people describe themselves as ambitious yet feel undervalued and want a job with real purpose.
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