How the British Army’s ‘Snowflakes’ campaign achieved more with less

The campaign’s use of contemporary descriptors was meant to spark a debate and coverage beyond the ads and force a reappraisal of the career options the Army offers. It worked, achieving its targets at a lower cost.

British Army recruitment Snowflakes campaignThe British Army’s 2019 recruitment drive caused a stir when it launched with ads featuring ‘me me me millennials’, ‘class clowns’, ‘snowflakes’ and ‘phone zombies’. The press coverage, however, amplified the media spend and helped achieve the campaign’s ultimate objective – driving up recruitment numbers at a lower cost than in previous years.

‘Your Army Needs You’, created by Karmarama for Capita for the British Army, won two awards at the 2019 Marketing Week Masters Awards –  one for the best multichannel marketing and then again in the charities and non-profit sector.

It was the third activation from Karmarama in the ‘This is Belonging’ positioning, which launched in 2017 and was followed up by ‘Find out Where You Belong’ in 2018. Both were successful in appealing to people who would not ordinarily consider a career in the armed services and led to a spike in applications across several demographic groups.

Its 2019 campaign called for people with the “compassion” of snowflakes, “stamina” of gamers and “confidence” of selfie addicts. It aimed to force a reappraisal of the career options the Army offers that couldn’t be found elsewhere.

The tactic of using ephemeral descriptors was intended to capture attention and spark debate among as many people as possible, regardless of whether they had seen the ads. Recruitment targets were set higher, but media spend lower than in previous campaigns.

The PR savvy approach led to 497 pieces of coverage in the first week after launch, according to the Masters of Marketing entry. Social conversation around the Army doubled in the first week, it claims.

By the end of January, visits to the Army Jobs website were up 93% year on year, and applications increased 71%.

The latest campaign launched earlier this month with ads portraying the “unexpected emotional benefits” of Army life.