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Sikh man Raj grapples with identity in Royal Navy recruitment ad


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 3, 2021 | 3 min read

The Royal Navy has deployed its latest recruitment campaign to explore the complexities of what it means to be British in the 21st century through the eyes of one fresh-faced recruit.

Royal navy

Royal Navy combats racial prejudice with minority ethnic recruitment drive

Raj’s Story recounts the collision of worlds represented by one boy’s unlikely journey from the streets of West London to the high seas, combating racial prejudice every step of the way.

Powered by Engine Creative, the TV recruitment campaign personalizes the armed forces by focusing on the background of Lt Raj, a serving officer in the Royal Navy’s submarine service. Recreating his childhood and the difficulties of reconciling his Sikh religion with a Western lifestyle, compounded by the disapproval of his family, the piece cuts to the present day with Raj proudly tying his turban before presenting for duty.

Made in the Royal Navy’ seeks to demonstrate that serving a higher cause can help individuals to better understand their own identity when growing up as part of a minority ethnic group.

Paul Colley, head of marketing, recruitment and attraction at Royal Navy, said: “This film came about through the opportunity that C4 presented with their Diversity in Advertising award. The £250,000 of free air time allowed the Royal Navy to provide a different and indeed unique insight into life in the Royal Navy through the eyes of serving Lt Raj. His story is a reflection of diversity in its truest sense and the life you can lead in the Royal Navy.”

Billy Faithfull, chief creative officer at Engine Creative, added: “‘Made in the Royal Navy’ is only as successful as it is authentic. When we heard about Raj’s life from the man himself, it was a complex story of conflict and dual identity in a part of British society, Sikhism, you never see in advertising. We’re proud to have played a part in shining a little light on this underrepresented culture, and added another authentic chapter to the ‘Made In’ story.”

Raj’s Story was a runner-up in a Channel 4 diversity competition centered on the authentic portrayal of British Black and minority ethnic (BAME) cultures.

The Royal Navy: Made in the Royal Navy by Engine Creative

By The Royal Navy

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