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British Army’s marketing strategy questioned amid ballooning ad costs

British Army’s recruitment advertising bill questioned as soldier numbers plummet

The effectiveness of the British Army’s advertising and marketing efforts have come under scrutiny from MP’s after Labour uncovered ballooning costs.

Questions are being asked of the efficacy of efforts to entice new recruits to sign up for the Army after advertising costs rose by nearly 50%, jumping from £6.7m in 2016 to more than £10m in the first nine months of 2017.

Two of its biggest ad campaigns of the year have come from London-based agency Karmarama, one of which focused on a Gay Pride celebration while the other sought to encourage recruitment through an ad centred on ‘belonging’.

However, the outflow of advertising budget has failed to stem continued depletion of manpower with full-time troop numbers declining from 79,390 to 77,680 in the 12 months to September 2017.

Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said it was "staggering" that the Government had increased its spend on advertising by nearly 50% "and yet Army numbers have continued to fall."

“This is a clear sign that the Government’s recruitment and retention strategy is in complete disarray," she said.

An MoD spokesperson said: “We are committed to attracting the best people into the Army – this boost in recruitment spending reflects our aim to show a wide audience the opportunities that exist for everyone to reach their full potential, whatever their background.”

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