You’ll fail, then win, Army ad tells prospective recruits in new campaign

The British Army is launching two TV spots focusing on failure as part of its annual January recruitment push through Karmarama.

Directed by Frederic Planchon through Academy, both films show young recruits hitting the wall on training manoeuvres before being encouraged to restart by a senior officer, while a voiceover addresses the viewer.

In one, the voiceover opens with the words “What’s the first step towards victory? Failure”, while the other begins “What’s our most powerful weapon? Failure”.

The campaign features the tagline “Fail. Learn. Win.” and echoes the “weaknesses become strengths” theme of the 2019 campaign, which showed young people that qualities older generations criticised them for could actually be advantages.

It was created by James Rooke, Meigan Brown and Tobias Owen. 

Nik Studzinski, chief creative officer at Karmarama, said: “At some point in our lives we all fail. How we react to that failure is the important thing. The Army prides itself on being a safe place to fail, because failure is an opportunity to learn.

“By highlighting this crucial part of Army training, we’re taking our ‘This is belonging’ campaign in a new direction, looking to build on the record levels of recruitment we achieved last year.”

The campaign is supported by research showing 76% of 16- to 25-year-olds feel held back by a fear of failure when taking on new challenges but 83% agree that failure is an important part of learning and growing.

Nick Terry, chief marketing officer of the Army’s Recruiting Group, said: “We hope the campaign will lead to potential applicants seeing the Army as a supportive place where they can fail, learn and win as part of a continually uplifting team to become the best version of themselves.

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“The recruitment campaign in 2020 was one of our most successful to date and we hope to replicate that success in 2021. In January last year, four days after launch of the last campaign, the record was broken for the highest number of applications received in a single day.”

The campaign includes radio and online executions and launches today.


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