The British army wants to recruit ‘snowflakes, binge gamers, phone zombies’

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By Linda Givetash

LONDON — “Snowflakes,” “phone zombies,” “binge gamers” and “me me me millennials” are the focus of the British army’s latest recruitment campaign.

Posters and billboards reminiscent of the famous World War I “Your Country Needs You” ads have been given a 21st-century twist, sending the message: “The army spots potential. Even if others don’t.”

The U.K. has struggled to maintain its target of 82,000 troops in recent years due to a declining number of recruits.

The new ads appear to attempt to engage millennials by connecting the stereotype of the screen-addicted generation with desirable skills. “Phone zombies” are wanted for their focus and “binge gamers” for their drive.

One of the campaign’s TV ads alternates between images of a young man unblinkingly playing a video game and soldiers responding to an elephant poaching in a dark field and rescuing survivors following a natural disaster.

“Snowflakes” — a criticism often thrown at millennials for allegedly lacking resilience and being prone to taking offence — are said to be wanted for their compassion, while “me me me millennials” are sought for their “self-belief.”

Another TV ad alternates between a young woman working at supermarket and personnel dodging Molotov cocktails.

The U.K. has the fifth-largest defense budget in the world, according to a 2015 report by the British government, following the United States, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The ‘Your Army Needs You’ campaign is a powerful call to action that appeals to those seeking to make a difference as part of an innovative and inclusive team. It shows that time spent in the army equips people with skills for life and provides comradeship, adventure and opportunity like no other job does.”

Alex Holmes contributed.


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