22 April 2022

Brand spotlight: HM Armed Forces

Expert comment
For very regrettable reasons, the security of our countries is at the forefront of our minds at the moment.

Our military has a dual role to play, in defence of our own freedoms and helping to maintain peace around the world, and so recruitment is taking on a renewed importance.

This month, we’ve taken a look at the various brands that sit under the umbrella of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in the UK, are effect using audio to attract new recruits.

Royal Navy – ‘Speak Jack’

Created by the team at ad agency Engine, this radio commercial is a masterclass is micro-targeting.

Slang has a rich history in uniting members of the Forces, which often promote themselves on the strength of the sense of togetherness and belonging that they provide. This ad’s script is packed with British naval slang that’s impossible to decipher if you’re not familiar with the vernacular – ‘Jackspeak’ – and targets the intended audience’s nostalgia for their time in the service, to encourage them to re-join.

Wondering what it says? We’ve translated:

This is for all the men and women who’ve left the Royal Navy, but miss their shipmates and best friend.

You could re-join the Navy in just four weeks, whether you’re a marine engineer, a personal trainer, a submariner or Marine.

Re-enter for more good times, and a salary that reflects your experience. So get an application form online, sign up for daily orders and pull on your service-issue naval boots. Don’t miss out, strike it lucky.

Search ‘Re-join the Navy’ today.

Royal Navy: Served once, serve again.


Royal Air Force – Sound Skills

This campaign to recruit intelligence analysts came from a killer insight: that talented linguists pay attention to the lyrics, rather than the melody, when listening to music.

The resulting campaign tests your ability to pick out spoken details from a number of different recordings; it’s an engaging way of helping people realise they had a natural aptitude for a lesser-understood role in the military that’s away from frontline combat.


Royal Marines Commando – ‘Pirates’

This 2019 advert for the Royal Marines Commando – an amphibious light infantry offshoot of the Royal Navy – emphasises the covert, light-touch nature of their operations.

The spot is notable for its lack of sound. Instead, the audience is treated to on-trend ASMR: the sound of crickets, snoring, a crackling fire and footsteps.

The only discernible script is right at the end – ‘Hostile secure, zero casualties’ – which goes some way to positioning the Marines as a force that aims to complete its activities with a minimum of drama.


British Army – ‘A Soldier is a Soldier’

This TV spot is targeted at recruiting women, and points out how women in the force have equality – in pay, opportunity, and workload.

We particularly enjoyed its cast of voice actors, who provide a range of regional accents. Coupled with first-person camera techniques, this cleverly helps women from across Britain to visualise themselves as soldiers.

Its clever script also lampoons campaigns typically aimed at women, with ‘beach body rations’ a nod to a controversial 2015 campaign that was banned in the UK.

It’s part of an overarching strategy to change the image of the army and what it means to be a soldier. Other activities include a partnership with social media giants LADbible to redress the stereotypes reinforced by search engines (99 of the first 100 results for ‘British soldier’ in Google Images are men), and a social experiment that invited a group of women to see if they can identify the soldier among them through a speed-dating style Q&A session.


Wondering how we could help your brand harness the incredible power of audio to attract new hires?

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