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British Army Targets Millennials by Defying Stereotypes

Facing a significant downtick in recruitment, the British Army has launched a unique campaign to engage young people between 16 and 25 who may be looking for a job with purpose. Each one of a series of promotional posters are designed to make an impression on their target audience. And that impression starts with an insult.

“Selfie addicts,” says one poster in bright bold red letters. “Me Me Me Millennials,” says another. “Phone Zombies, Binge Gamers, Snowflakes,” et cetera. Each poster starts with a millennial stereotype, then reframes that characteristic as a positive. “Selfie addicts … your army needs you and your confidence.” Snowflakes are lauded for their compassion. Binge gamers are lauded for their drive.

There are also similar TV spots. In one, a young person is seen meticulously gathering shopping carts, and is called useless. Cut to a fighter cockpit where a radio voiceover says, “sounds like a perfectionist.”

Whether or not the campaign will help to hit recruiting targets remains to be seen, but the posters are generating conversation on social media. Camden-based politician Sarah Hayward commented on Twitter, “Not sure why the British Army thinks insulting young people is a good recruitment tactic.”

Meanwhile, Major General Paul Nanson expressed his belief in the campaign. "We understand the drive they have to succeed and recognize their need for a bigger sense of purpose in a job where they can do something meaningful." Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson called it “a powerful call to action.”

Potential Preaching Angles:

People may use labels to define us as we are, but God loves us as we could be. Let’s not shy away from the truth, but call each other toward a higher code of conduct, recognizing we’re all gifted in different ways.


Ian Stewart, “British Army Seeks ‘Snow Flakes’ and “Me Me Me Millennials’ In New Recruiting Campaign,” NPR (1-03-19)

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