The British Army says that criticism around its latest campaign will “help challenges perceptions” of the Army and encourage more diverse recruits.

The ‘This is Belonging 2018′ campaign, created by Karmarama, shows a series of short films that address questions of faith and mental health. The videos are meant to attract potential soldiers from a broader range of backgrounds.

“The fact that you’ve seen the level of reaction to it is showing that it’s beginning to challenge perceptions in a way that campaigns like this have never done before,” Gordon Lee, marketing director at the British Army’s recruitment agency Capita, tells Marketing Week.

He adds: “I think it helps that people are talking about it. We are trying to attract young people into the Army who have a different perception of diversity compared to other parts of our community and those who’ve served before.”

The adverts, which launched last weekend, include videos that answer questions such as ‘Can I be gay in the Army?’ and highlight issues including ‘keeping my faith’ which features a Muslim soldier praying. However, they have received criticisms from top soldiers for being too ‘soft’, with Colonel Richard Kemp telling the BBC that he didn’t think people signing up are “worrying about if they are going to be listened to or if there’s an emotional issue”.

“We were prepared for people to have strong opinions about the campaign because we’re trying to shift perceptions.” says Colonel Simon Stockley, assistant director of Army recruiting, speaking to Marketing Week.

Despite the criticism there is extensive research to show that the campaign will increase recruitment. Lee explains: “We do long-term brand tracking which actually tracks interest and awareness right through to which channels are the most effective for our audiences.”

This is backed up by longer term…