Case Study: Army customer magazine

The Army has used its customer magazine Army to build a relationship with the 100,000 13-16 year olds who have expressed an interest in joining. According to research, it has helped ensure that 15% have pursued a career in the army.

  • Client: The British Army/Central Office of Information

  • Magazine name: Army

  • Industry sector: Public Sector

  • Frequency: Three issues per year

  • Circulation: 100,000

  • Target audience: 13- to 16-year-olds who have shown an interest in the Army


    To nurture a database of 100,000 13- to 16-year-olds who have expressed an interest in the Army as a career option.

    To inform the target audience in an appropriate way about the vast range of career opportunities in the Army and, ultimately, to encourage them to join up at the right age.


    The British Army is the UK's largest personnel recruiter, but has failed in the past to meet recruiting targets. Ad-tracking research demonstrates an information gap exists whereby its target audience is aware the Army is recruiting, but is unaware of what the job entails. The Army also generates high levels of interest among those under 16 who request information despite being too young to enlist.

  • Against this, Henley Centre research shows that young people are looking for career progression, anticipate changing jobs, and have high expectations of their employers. Unemployment is running close to a long-term low, and an increasing number of young adults are entering higher education.

    In September 2000, Army Recruiting Group embarked on a strategic marketing response to appeal to "eligibles" (16+) and to build a relationship with "pre-eligibles" (13-16).

    It launched Army as the central fulfilment piece of its "Camouflage" campaign to target the latter. Using the language and environment of young women's and lad's mags, widely read by the target audience, the magazine works hard to convey the Army's core messages in an appealing and empathetic way.

    Every element of the magazine "soft sells" the Army lifestyle, provides information on career options and encourages reader interaction. Competitions, URLs and invitations to appear in the magazine or attend Army events provide varied calls to action.

    How is the success of the magazine measured?

    Every issue of Army contains a Join Camouflage data capture mechanism. Data capture cards and copies of the magazine are distributed at Army events, and teenagers are pushed to join at

    A marketing database has been created by the Army to track contact from eligibles and pre-eligibles allowing full tracking of the campaign's success.

    How effective is the magazine as a marketing tool?

    The Army has confirmed that, to date, 15% of Camouflage members who have turned 16 have gone on to actively pursue an Army career. Further, NOP research commissioned by COI confirms Army is meeting its editorial objectives.

    Focus studies have demonstrated that readers believe the magazine broadens their view of the Army and highlights career opportunities for all.

    Since April 2002, the magazine has been used successfully as a direct marketing tool. Mailings to 15,746 respondents to advertising (who had been sent a fulfilment brochure but failed to visit a recruitment office) have resulted in action by 1,447 (9%) with a subsequent 561 (4% of those mailed and 39% of those who visited an office) completing Compiled Application Packs -- the last stage prior to enlisting.

    Army won Most Effective Public Sector Magazine of the Year at the APA Customer Magazine Awards 2002.

    Hilary Weaver, director of the APA, says: "By utilising its customer database to maximum effect, the Army has built up a relationship with a specific target audience with an innovative customer magazine. Research and evaluation has shown that the magazine has delivered outstanding results.

    "The customer magazine medium has experienced phenomenal growth over the last 10 years. Royal Mail volume figures show the medium has increased by 15% year on year. Its success can, in part, be attributed to the targeted and personalised nature of the medium and its ability to be accountable."

    If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.


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