Sunday, July 09, 2017

Cannon fodder

The British army is specifically targeting young people from working-class backgrounds in a glossy recruitment campaign despite claiming to aim advertising at all socio-economic backgrounds, an internal briefing document seen by the Guardian reveals.

A briefing document on the This Is Belonging campaign spells out that the key audience is 16- to 24-year-old “C2DEs” – marketing speak for the lowest three social and economic groups.

Army chiefs insist they do not specifically target poorer people from deprived areas, but seek out talented and motivated youngsters of all social classes from across the country. However, the briefing document, clearly showed this was not true.

Rachel Taylor, the director of programmes for the charity Child Soldiers International,  said: “What’s very clear from the document is that the army is deliberately and strategically targeting young people from deprived backgrounds who have limited options in life. It’s not about presenting the military as one of many options. It’s about exploiting people who don’t have a lot else going for them and taking advantage of that lack of opportunity to fill the ranks usually for the most dangerous and badly paid roles.”  Taylor said: “It’s very clearly targeting the most economically deprived areas with low employment. It’s not as if the MoD [Ministry of Defence] would suggest that they are trying to encourage kids into a great career before they get snapped up by other employers. It’s about going to the areas that are most vulnerable and most desperate and picking kids up from those areas knowing they don’t have a lot else to choose from.”

She said it was also concerning that the document made clear that 16-year-olds were part of the target audience. “There’s a reason why 16-year-old boys are a great target for recruitment. At that age adolescents are primed into risk-taking behaviour, into wanting to prove themselves as a man, into wanting to establish an identity, a sense of belonging, which is really played upon in the current advertising campaign. Teenage boys want to take risks; they are lured in by the romance, the glamour, the danger. The marketing strategy very cynically takes advantage of that.”
The media brief from the army andCapita, which works on recruitment for the MoD, describes it as “a new inspirational and motivating creative campaign” getting over the message that recruits will join “a brotherhood and sisterhood formed of unbreakable bonds which … will accept you for you.” But it adds: “Priority for this campaign is to drive the volume of applicants” and goes on to pinpoint “our core regular target audience” as 16-24 C2DEs. Under “target audience” the brief says: “16-24, primarily C2DE. Mean household income 10K. High index for social, mobile, cinema. Not heavy TV viewers. Interested in sports and spending time with friends.” In the same section it mentions other groups used by marketing experts including “M55” – which refers to lower-income homeowners whose adult children are still striving to gain independence, meaning space is limited – and “Municipal Challenge” – urban renters of social housing facing an array of challenges.
The tactics used by army recruiters were criticised in a report published last week called The First Ambush by Veterans For Peace UK. It said two motives drove army recruitment: the need to escape disadvantage, and the allure of the soldier’s life. officers, while targeting poorer neighbourhoods for enlisted personnel, particularly in northern cities and in Wales. It claimed the British army visits English universities and private schools in the search for future officers, while targeting poorer neighbourhoods for enlisted personnel, particularly in northern cities and in Wales.

1 comment:

Gordon lang said...

40 yearso ago and English recruiting Sergeant told me they no longer recruited south of the Watford Gap.
Because they were mostly wimps who couldn't make a bed.