The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Join The Army And Get Killed …
May 21, 2008, 7:19 am
Filed under: Comment

I cannot tell you how much I hate this ad.

Look I know it’s going to be hard to recruit people into the army – even the Aussie one who do nothing [Haha!] – but to try and position the armed forces as some sort of ‘fame provider’ is total desperation.

You can just guess how the agency sold this ad …

“Hello Mr and Mrs Important Soldier. We have come up with a brilliant strategy for the Australian Army Recruitment Campaign that we call “FIGHTING FOR FAME” and we’d like to explain it to you…

1 No one wants to join the army because they know our country in a pointless war that could see them being sent off and killed.

2 The army can no longer promise things like offering training that you could find useful in later life because the chances are you won’t have a later life thanks to point 1.

With all this in mind, we have based our campaign on an insight that says people are all looking for their 15 minutes of fame and will do anything to be on the front page of newspapers and magazines so our “BIG IDEA” is to show how being in the army isn’t a job that you find in the classified ads of the local paper, it’s a job that gets you on the front page … though obviously we’ll ignore the bit that says it does this because you will either be being reported as killing people or being killed by people – so we’ll be satisfying people’s craving for ‘stardom’ and motivate the ‘sad demographic’ to sign up”

Brilliant eh?”

Errrrrm no …

For the reasons already outlined, I know this brief would be incredibly hard to crack – but this ad isn’t going to do it because regardless how thick or fame obsessed you are, this concept is more transparent than a fucking greenhouse and what pisses me off is that I bet a planner had a big part to play in this idea.

Is delusion and illusion a big part of today’s society?

Sadly yes … but that doesn’t mean people are going to run off and join the armed forces in the vague hope they’ll get their mug on the front page of the fucking Illawarra Mercury!

Seriously, the agency/client would be better off running an ad that said …

“When You’re In A Situation Where Death Is Mere Minutes Away, Female Soldiers Won’t Turn Down Your Sexual Propositions. Join The Army And Go Out With A Bang”

The only people who will fall for this illusion and delusion are the guys who made/approved it.

A truly terrible ad, but then the odds were always going to be against them thanks to the actions of their Government.

35 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“go out with a bang” you cynical evil fucker

and why have they got so many fucking endlines? “challenge yourself” “have you got what it takes?” total shit but then the greatest ever armed forces line is rkcr “99% need not apply” which shows the brits might be shit at most things but compared to the aussies theyre still miles afuckinghead πŸ™‚

nice post, shit ad

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh dear, this is really bad isn’t it.

That RCKR line for the Paratroopers is better than this whole ad and much more effective.

Comment by Pete

as bill hicks put it – ‘i’m in the unpopular position of being for the war – but against our troops’. a mate of mine directed the British army TV ads – all done in a gonzo, talk to video cam way, making it feel like a reality TV show (and the winner gets…. both of his legs blown off – and heres Davina’) he consoled himself with the rationalization of the fact that he is not a very good director and therefore was possibly likely to turn more people off joining. Incidentally – Britain doesn’t have an army. An army has to be over 100,000 strong and the UK has about 90,000 troops – so technically its a militia. However, having the full brutal weight of the British militia advancing toward you doesn’t sound half as scary does it. sorry – this contains no insights – but i’m only on my first coffee

Comment by Mr McG

I’m not defending it because I agree with you on most of your points, including Andy’s observation that the body copy just looks like a bunch of end lines, hehe…

BUT… isn’t the idea more about invoking a sense of “pride”? As in… this is a job where you’ll be involved in events that matter on a global scale? That you’ll be truly making a bigger difference? It’s still blowing smoke up asses by making us think Army peeps are more important than I am and what I choose to do for a living (though working in adland they might have a case!) but thought I’d just ask…

Am i saying the same thing as you, Rob? Just differently? Maybe… I dunno, I’m all PPT’d out… πŸ™

Comment by Age

I have to say one of the best ads I’ve ever seen for the Army was a scratchcard.

Yes, I did say a scratchcard!

The card featured a photo of a landscape with the question …


On the landscape were things like old oil barrels, rocks, trees, burnt out cars and when you scratched off where you would choose to hide, it would tell you whether you made a wise choice or not [ie: you should never hide behind old oil barrells because even though they are empty, there could be residue that a bullet could cause to explode etc]

At the end, it said if you identified the right place on your first go you should go in for a chat but if you didn’t, they’d be happy to train you to think like a soldier.

What I liked about it was that regardless of whether you wanted to join the armed forces or not, you were left with the distinct impression the Army was not for violent thugs or neanderthals, it was for smart, highly trained individuals which raised its prestige and value in the eyes of both wannabe soldiers and the public as a whole.

I’m sure some creatives would put their nose up at such an idea, but it was informative, interactive and image building which is a damn sight more than the execution above.

Saying that, the RKCR line for the para’s was truly a moment of genius …

Comment by Rob

i’m thinking of joining the army already.

Comment by lauren

I know what you’re saying Age, and maybe it is trying to invoke a sense of national ‘pride’ but I don’t think it’s coming through – especially as Australians tend to celebrate anything that achieves success on a World stage.

They could have taken this ‘make a bigger difference’ idea to a much more powerful and interesting place [The non-lethal army] but given too many in Aussie politics want to be seen sucking George W’s cock, then I doubt anything other than “We’re like the US army” would be approved by the powers that be, even if it is under the pretence they’re doing something good for the people of Iraq and the World at large.

Political? Me? Hahaha

Still it’s better than the Italian Army ads which are just blank white pages, which convieniently double as ‘surrender’ flags. Boom Tish!

Comment by Rob

The Art Corp?

Comment by Rob

This is still my fav…

If it can make me want to pack up my shit and apply for the Swedish Armed Services it’s done a good job! I like how it makes you feel like you have the skill to belong. And executed brilliantly.

Comment by Age

My fav photo ever is still my nonno “fighting” for the Italians during WWII. He’s hanging out at a wharf with a mate smoking, guns no here in site… pure Italian Army right thurr.

Comment by Age

The Swedish Army?

That’s not an army, that’s a Barmy. Remember these are the guys who [allegedly] made weapons for the Nazi’s so they wouldn’t be attacked!

I know they say the best armies are the ones who defeat the enemy before a bullet has been shot, but that’s just ridiculous.

Come on Freddie, where are you – I’ve slagged off your country and you need to demonstrate your Vikinglike tendencies before we all think you’re a bunch of mild ponces. πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

no, the officers corp.

Comment by lauren

an aussie told me last week that more Australian troops were killed in Vietnam than Americans. This is huge piece of info and completely altered how I felt about that piece of history and to an extent how I thought of australian men. What astounds me is how and why I had never heard it before

Comment by Mr McG

That may alter your view of the Australian Army, but I don’t know if a history of being the World’s ‘cannon fodder’ [which sadly was how the British Army also treated the Australians] would really want to make people sign up …

Comment by Rob

true, but to me it infers a collective decision to behave with dignity with regard an atrocity that american popular culture has chosen to exploit – born of the 4th of july, platoon, first blood, full metal jacket, hamburger hill, the dreadful one with michael J fox – all done in the name of education? I could be wrong (often am)and it could be a nation sweeping something it is embarrassed and humiliated by (both then and now) under the collective subconscious carpet

Comment by Mr McG

America loves to exploit other people’s bravery and integrity for it’s own goals – of which Hollywood is definitely one of the worst offenders. There was some historian that went through all American war movies and found something like only 30% accuracy.

As for Australia, they tend to only remember history when it coats the country in glory – but then don’t all nations – though I still find it interesting that there is [to my knowledge] not one monument dedicated to the first fleet in Australia.

I know no one would like to acknowledge their country was “developed” by convicts, but the fact is, it was and what they managed to turn it into is amazing and should be something the nation is be proud of, not just Nicole fucking Kidman, the Wallabies or Shane pisshead Warne.


Comment by Rob

They could do a joint venture with the samaritans and anyone who calls up saying they’re thinking about committing suicide could be convinced to sign up. Sorry, I know that’s in very bad taste but I’ve just read an “article” where David Brent suggests giving marijuana to anorexia sufferers because then they’ll get the munchies πŸ™‚

Comment by Bazza

David Brent’s idea was funny, yours Bazza was not.

Comment by Rob

Yes it was pretty bad taste, sorry.

Comment by Bazza

Don’t forget Stefan Dennis Rob. ‘Don’t it make you feel good’ is surely an Aussie milestone.

Comment by northern

Point of information:

Australian casualties in Vietnam 508 (

US casualties 58,000 (

Comment by John

Yes John – but you’re forgetting to include the ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’ metric which basically multiplies the Aussie casualities by 16,000.

Sorry Aussies. Including my wife that HATES me when I do this.

[PS: Was it an Aussie that told you that ‘fact’ McG? πŸ™‚ ]

Comment by Rob

(1) Rob I love you.
(2) This is one of the shittest weeks in my life.

These two things mean I can say what I want. Which is, FUCK OFF. Stop slagging off Australia until you get your own nation into shape πŸ™‚

I do find it amusing that you criticise Australia for the same things that many people criticise the UK for, which makes me wonder whether everyone is as ignorant and narrow minded as everyone else…

The Australian Army does nothing because it cannot be FUCKED after you guys screwed us over at Gallipoli and we were massacred.

And of course there is a fucking monument for the first fleet.

Comment by Angus

rob, are you picking on the aussies to show that even when our country is being attacked by the weight of english sanctimoniousness, that really, all we’re likely to do is to tell you to fuck off with a smile and challenge you to a game of cricket, mate?

little wonder it’s so hard to recruit for the defense force..

Comment by lauren

I think Rob likes to sledge Australia because he knows Australian men have bigger cocks…

Comment by Angus

i fucking love you lot slagging off campbell but dont think he just picks on the english outpost, hes an equal opportunity country slagger and takes the piss out of all countries because hes a patronizing, condesending, argumentative wanker.

you think he gives australia shit? you should have heard the fucker when he lived here, he was public enemy #1 and his rants were genuine, he actually “likes” ozland.

and youre right about aussie men having bigger cocks, what a shame for the chicks they stuff them into other mens mouths and asses which is why you all have to move or marry the small cocked but straight english.

Comment by andy@cynic

OK so Angus gets special dispensation because she truly is having a shit week – and I thank Andy for trying to protect my honour by actually making me out to be an even worse individual than people thought I was … but the point people are missing is that when I slag off Australia [like I slag off all countries] I’m not doing it interms of comparisson with another country, I’m just focusing on an element that I find distasteful, regardless how other countries operate.

I think I’ve slagged the UK, US, Singapore off enough for people to know I’m not exactly the most positive person in the World but I started a company called ‘cynic’ so what the hell do you expect πŸ˜‰

The fact is I love Australia – love it – I regard it as home but their inherent need to be acknowledged on a World stage for ‘acts of brilliance’ pisses me off because it is creating a false impression within the country which people only start to realise when they move out and see the only things people really know/care about the place are Kangaroo’s, Sport, Opera House and the big fucking rock in the middle.

To be fair, alot of this is because Australia communication focuses on these things but there are wonderful people/things and places all through Oz that aren’t “the best in the World”, just fucking fantastic things but they don’t get promoted nearly as much because of this “we’re part of the World [if not the best]” chip-on-the-shoulder that infiltrates this whole generation.

I love the country … I love the people … I love their bravery, pragmatism and sense of fun but what I don’t like is the people/culture that don’t think this is enough and want to be seen as ‘World powers’ when the reality is anyone who stands out on the World stage tends to be a total and unadulterated wanker.

Hey, on the bright side, at least Australia’s energy is on the rise – imagine being a Brit and seeing a nation that once ruled the seas unable to even run the fucking NHS.

Right, I’ll carry on now … πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

well there is a lesson there – I shouldn’t believe everything I am told. Lucky I work in advertising where the ability to unquestioningly believe in things is a strength
changing my name to steve-naive

Comment by Mr McG

Excellent rant Rob. I didn’t understand any of it, and have never experienced what you are talking about regarding desperately trying to get on the ‘world stage’ or only celebrating ‘the best in the world’ – you and I must have lived in different Australias, but I loved your rant. It was long. And used long words.

However, nothing, NOTHING, surpasses Andy’s last paragraph which is my all time favourite comment on any blog EVER.

“stuff them into other mens mouths and asses” – fucking brilliant.

Comment by Angus

You’re in a bad mood – you’re going through a shitty time – I’m incredibly behind on what I have to do by today so lets just say people too close to situations often don’t see the realities other see πŸ˜‰

And yes, Andy’s comment was quite good. For once.

Comment by Rob

I’m never moody, I’m laughing my way through this shit fight πŸ™‚

Comment by Angus

You embody the true Aussie spirit πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

I’ve been unable to comment for a while but this was one of those where I think you’re mistaken. Its a duff ad but in principle its just saying that war is a weightier issue than the most ads. Right. Where was the other post I wanted to get stuck into?

Comment by Charles Frith

still not as bad as being drafted.

Comment by niko

no chaz, that pile of bollocks isnt saying war is a weightier issue than most ads, if anything it just is saying war is a weightier issue than classified ads and as you know the ads in the back of papers are carefully designed to appeal to just pervs who want a “massage” or window blind companies which all adds up to you being wrong ( πŸ™‚ ), me being bored and campbell being a painful bastard to have around.


good, now wait till the fucker is back so he can annoy you like hes been annoying me

Comment by andy@cynic

Leave a Reply