Adwatch: COI - Army recruitment - 'Video diary'

I started this journey with a TV ad for the Army, which, given the lineage of this brand, is not quite as good as we have come to expect.

The ad itself is a handheld movie-camera testimonial filmed by a young man who walks a fine line between real geezer and gurgling dork. The Army invites people to be the best, but I'm not sure it has a prime candidate in this character.

However, the ad finishes abruptly, mid-drama, and the end frame invites the viewer to follow and complete the drama online. Largely because I was reviewing the ad, I went and had a look, and found a well laid-out website, centred around four short stories from different characters - one of whom is the character from the ad, who turns out to be less gurgling dork and more real geezer in the full film.

The stories reveal different aspects and benefits of joining the Army. They are well put together, matter of fact and occasionally entertaining.

I had a further nose around the website, which was on-brand for what I presume is the Army brand - no-nonsense, easy to navigate, hands-on.

My favourite piece was a self-assessment exercise, which you complete by selecting from multiple words and images. I was unusually honest in my feedback - and then pleasantly surprised to read about a person who, among other things, seeks out adrenalin, is highly popular and used to winning. I couldn't help but wonder whether the site was flattering me into applying.

At a time when we are all trying to construct campaigns across media, this work seems to have found the right balance. The role of the more conventional media is to tease and direct the viewer online (although I did feel that some elements of the above-the-line campaign are not as compelling as they could or should be, which is definitely a danger when we get distracted by the promise of digital). The digital space itself lets the viewer spend time with the 'brand' on their own terms, learning more and getting a flavour for life in the Army. This seamlessly tips through the self-assessment exercise into actual application. All (nearly) very good.


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