British Army DM START THINKING SOLDIER by Publicis London

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Industry Government & Other Authorities
Media Direct marketing
Market United Kingdom
Agency Publicis London
Director Michael Geoghegan
Executive Creative Director Adam Kean, Tom Ewart
Creative Director David Prideaux, Louis Clement
Art Director Asan Aslam
Copywriter Dave Hillyard, Ed Robinson, Jon Groom
Producer John Golley
Photographer Steve Nicholls
Typographer Bryan Riddle, Simon Tomlin
Released April 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Traffic & Brand Building
Advertiser: BRITISH ARMY/C.O.I
Date of First Appearance: Apr 2 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: PUBLICIS, London, UNITED KINGDOM
Entry URL:
Copywriter/Art Director: Matt Anderson (Publicis London)
Copywriter/Art Director: Steve Nicholls (Publicis London)
Executive Creative Director: Tom Ewart (Publicis London)
Executive Creative Director: Adam Kean (Publicis London)
Director: Michael Geoghegan (Spank Films)
Producer: John Golley (Spank Films)
Agency Producer: Kim Knowlton (COI)
Copywriter: Jon Groom (Publicis Modem)
Art Director: Asan Aslam (Publicis Modem)
Creative Director: David Prideaux (Publicis Modem)
Commercial Director: Anthony Somerville (Skive)
Creative Director: Louis Clement (Skive)
Creative Lead: Matt Stafford (Skive)
Interactive Art Director: Jim Hall (Skive)
Copywriter: Ed Robinson (Publicis London)
Copywriter: Dave Hillyard (Publicis London)
Photographer: Steve Nicholls (Publicis London)
Typographer: Simon Tomlin (Publicis London)
Typographer: Bryan Riddle (Publicis London)
Media placement: TV Campaign (6 Flights) - ITV, C4, C5, Sky, Digital & Regional TV - 6 April 2009
Media placement: Online (Banners & Pre-Rolls) - MSN, Guardian,, Gamespot, Freeloader & Miniclip - 6 April 2009
Media placement: Website - see URL Below - 6 April 2009
Media placement: Press Campaign - UK National Press & Magazines - 2 April 2009
Media placement: Radio Campaign (2 flights) - UK Nation & Regional stations - 2 April 2009

Describe the brief/objective of the direct campaign.
We had the job of persuading the ultra-difficult 16-21 year old target group to consider the ultra complicated issue of making the Army their career choice at an ultra-difficult period, when the Army is involved in two bloody conflicts. So instead of a straightforward job offer, our strategy was to engage the target in a dialogue, entering their world instead of asking them to enter ours. We wanted them to have time to absorb information about what the Army could offer them at their own pace, not spook them by demanding a quick decision.

Explain why the creative execution was relevant to the product or service.
The strength of the creative idea and execution was in its impact (just like the real thing), its authenticity (all the soldiers involved are real ones), and its seamless integration (real life footage and game-style graphics being devised and executed simultaneously by one big team). It was powerful and right for the brand, not least because, far from avoiding the controversial subject of modern warfare, it embraced it, while carefully steering clear of being tonally just a tasteless shoot-‘em-up.

Describe the creative solution to the brief/objective with reference to the projected response rates and desired outcome.
Start Thinking Soldier – an integrated campaign based around the type of gaming concept our audience enjoyed. Print, ambient, radio, web activity and TV drove viewers online, by setting up a dilemma in a realistic Army operation. The only way to find out the answer was to go to the Start Thinking Soldier website. Once there, the correct solution unlocked more levels to the mission. Now, the user took control. Moving seamlessly between gaming and real footage, would-be recruits were put through a series of challenges and the best competitors were invited to meet the army and compete for real.

Describe the results in as much detail as possible with particular reference to the RESPONSE of the target audience including deliverability statistics, response rates, click throughs, sales cost per response, relationships built and overall return on investment.
Over one million unique visitors averaged over 10 minutes per visit with very low bounce rates (below 2%). A substantial proportion stayed with the programme through all four stages. The Army filled its recruitment target for the first time in a decade, with better quality recruits than before.