Selling good life over patriotism
Grappling with a shortage of over 11,000 officers, the world's second largest army has decided to change its unique selling proposition for recruiting young officers, reports Veenu Sandhu.india Updated: Sep 27, 2006 04:16 IST
When the army has to compete with the likes of PricewaterhouseCoopers, patriotism does not sell — a good life does. Which is why the Indian Army's new recruitment advertisement being beamed on television since early September has a uniformed officer, in the backdrop of sylvan surroundings and sprawling golf courses, inviting young men to join the Indian Army. "Sure there is hard work, but we will make sure you lead a good life."
Grappling with a shortage of over 11,000 officers, the world's second largest army has decided to change its unique selling proposition for recruiting young officers — from patriotism and courage to a good life. So while in 2003, ads asked young men and women "Do you have it in you?", now it calls them to join the army, go sailing, try rock-climbing or fencing and then unwind at lavish garden parties.
To prove this is not just an empty promise, the army will, from October, start tapping schools and colleges to take students on guided tours of the cantonment areas, army messes and clubs, pools, golf courses, firing ranges and living quarters.
The army's rationale is simple: we already give our officers a great lifestyle. It is time that we talked about it.
"When a young man contemplating a career thinks of the army, he only sees hardships ahead," says Dinesh Malhotra, general manager, Lintas IMAG, the agency that has designed the Rs 7.5 crore advertising campaign. "So it was decided to focus the campaign on a life beyond fighting on the border and on the privileges an army officer enjoys," says Major Paramjeet Singh, joint director (publicity), Recruiting Directorate.
When the advertising agency made the pitch — in all six companies had pitched for the account — the army top brass was only too keen to accept the idea. "An army survey had earlier pointed out that the preference for choosing the army as a career option had slipped to an all-time low, what with so many highly-paying professions to opt for," says Malhotra, a former naval officer.
The multi-pronged campaign will include commercials on TV, FM radio, national newspapers, regional radio channels, magazines, the Internet, roadside hoardings and interaction with students face-to-face and on phone, Singh said.
However, not everybody is confident this will work. "Advertisement alone will not do the trick," says Vishal Batra, the twin of Kargil martyr Captain Vikram Batra who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously. "But the firsthand exposure to life in the army might just click," he adds.