Army aims to win new recruits with promise of 'lifetime confidence'

Alistair Bunkall, defence and security correspondent

The British Army has launched an advertising campaign in a renewed effort to increase the size of the depleted force.

It's the fourth annual instalment of the Belonging Series and follows a very successful campaign 12 months ago that resulted in a record number of applications.

Nevertheless, figures released in mid-2019 showed that the size of the army had fallen for a ninth consecutive year and remained around 7,000 troops short of the 82,000 target.

This latest campaign focuses on the personal benefits of a career in the military with a tagline "Army confidence lasts a lifetime". Based on research by The Prince's Trust and Deloitte, it has been designed to counter a short-term outlook and appeal to young men and women who believe a lack of confidence holds them back.

One of the images featured in the campaign is a collage of muscular body parts accompanied by the tagline: "Confidence can be built for a summertime or it can last a lifetime."

Another which depicts emojis, reads: "Confidence can last as long as a like or it can last a lifetime."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "I know from my own experience the confidence, self-belief and camaraderie a career in the armed forces can offer.

"The latest army recruitment campaign reflects these unique opportunities and I hope it will build on the success of last year's campaign, which led to a record number of applications in recent years."

Billboard adverts will accompany a 60-second television and radio commercial.

"With the 2020 campaign we want to highlight that a career in the army not only provides exciting opportunities, challenges and adventure but it also gives you a lasting confidence that is hard to find in any other profession," said Colonel Nick MacKenzie, head of army recruiting.

"This campaign tells a story of character built on camaraderie and encouragement, of unshakeable self-confidence built on overcoming challenges."

Although the army has experienced the biggest fall in personnel in recent years, all three services are below-strength - the Royal Navy desperately needs to recruit more sailors to serve on the two new aircraft carriers.

A full Strategic Defence and Security Review is expected later this year and the Ministry of Defence will be hoping to win more money from the Treasury.