A huge increase in the advertising budget for the Army has failed to
combat the public’s impression that it does not need to recruit.
The Ministry of Defence, which doubled its spend on Saatchi and
Saatchi’s Army recruitment account from pounds 9.6 million to pounds
18.7 million last year, has admitted it is still 4,000 trained soldiers
short of its 108,000 target.
‘To improve recruitment we have increased substantially our recruiting
and advertising budgets,’ the MoD said in its annual spending statement.
The shortfalls in recruitment were ‘caused by a shortage of people in
the right age groups, the increased opportunities for further education
and the mistaken perception that the Army no longer needs new recruits’.
MoD officials admitted that the announcement of redundancies following a
wide-ranging review has made people less likely to think of a career in
the armed forces. But, with most job cuts affecting older servicemen,
the forces constantly need to attract new waves of recruits.
Service chiefs are worried that, unless recruitment picks up, the Army
could be 20,000 below strength in four years.
The Army plans to spend pounds 15.8 million on advertising in the
financial year which began last month - down on last year but much
higher than two years ago. About pounds 1.5 million has been earmarked
for regional campaigns to combat the loss of local identity with the
forces caused by the merger of regiments.
The Royal Air Force, which spent pounds 3.8 million on advertising
through J. Walter Thompson last year, took on 2,530 new personnel - 270
short of its 2,800 target. It plans to spend pounds 4.5 million in the
The Royal Navy attracted 2,350 new recruits last year - against a target
of 2,660. It gave Young and Rubicam a pounds 4.8 million budget last
year and plans to spend a further pounds 3 million this year.