An Afghanistan veteran who runs a support charity for ex-service personnel has labelled a new army recruitment campaign aimed at ‘millennials’ as “tasteless”.
Andy Allen, a former Royal Irish soldier who became an Ulster Unionist MLA in 2015, also said the new campaign “smacks of desperation”.
A series of posters attempt to appeal to ‘snowflakes’, ‘me-me-me millennials’, ‘class clowns’, ‘selfie-addicts’, ‘phone zombies’ and ‘binge gamers’.
Titled Your Army Needs You, they are presented in the style of the iconic World War One ‘Your Country Needs You’ posters featuring Field Marshall Lord Kitchener.
But Mr Allen, who lost both legs and was left visually impaired after being blown up in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in 2008 and now runs a support charity for former service personnel, is not a fan of the campaign.
The 30-year-old East Belfast MLA said: “While the posters in question don’t appeal to me, nor would they attract me to a career in the militiary, I do understand what they’re trying to achieve – they’re about trying to attract the type of recruits who can fight modern, cyber warfare.
“I feel they’ve gone about it poorly. These posters are tasteless. They’ve got it wrong. They will not attract the calibre of recruit required.”
Mr Allen, who was awarded an MBE for services to veterans in the Queen’s New Year Honours, added: “I believe the much more effective approach is that which has worked well in the past – the ads that show you and tell you what a military career has to offer, and in turn you then know what is expected of you.
“Especially when that is complemented with on-the-ground recruitment offices.”