Analysing Armed Forces advertisments

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Over the past few years the Armed Forces have resorted to using many different media for advertising as they have found it increasingly difficult to recruit a sufficient number of applicants. This is mostly due to teenagers and young adults being encouraged to go to a local college then to university rather than going straight into the Navy, Army or R.A.F. Media is all around us and is forever increasing in quantity. It is a very successful and appealing way of giving information and persuading people who read it. Depending on the content of the media, it can be specifically aimed at certain age – groups. In the case of the armed forces material I have looked at, it has mainly been aimed at 16 – 26 year olds.

The Royal Navy television advert is set in a tropical scene with bright warm colours, which grasp the audience’s attention. The tropical travel theme is also depicted in sound with foreign, undercover voices and bongo drums in the background. It takes you on a mini adventure where the drug smugglers are the ‘baddies’ who must be stopped by the team of heroes, the Royal Navy, by quick thinking tactics. However unlike an Enid Blyton – type fiction film, this is real life, which brings in a serious element.

Also this clip helps break the stereotypical view that the armed forces only fight in wars. They are not just fighting in wars but they are also fighting drug smuggling – acting like global police. Many depressing war films (‘Pearl Harbour’, ‘633 Squadron’, ‘Dam Busters’, ‘In which we serve’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ just to name a few) are mainly to blame for this stereotypical view. Although these action films are promoting the forces, at the same time they are stereotyping them, therefore discouraging people from joining this essential service. From the very first shot the advert is exciting and fast moving from on frame to the next with different viewpoints, zooms and colour schemes showing the busy, active part of the job and also adrenalin rush and quick thinking.

When the colours become sombre and serious, a fast moving, ‘under pressure’ tune, not dissimilar to the Mission Impossible theme, takes over and the action moves to the dark Caribbean waters on a jetski. The wide array of modern machinery and weapons shown in the film shows how well equipped the Navy is and all the opportunities available. The hi-tech computers and communication systems indicate that there are jobs for logic and intelligence as well as the strength and bravery, which is shown by the determination in their expressions. Inside the Royal Navy’s victory vessel different people are pictured doing various jobs, which shows that there are many different parts that make up the Navy’s team. The picture goes infra-red for a few frames showing the dangerous aspect of being under cover and under pressure. The camera continues casting a dramatic birds eye view of the scene as a helicopter comes into sight bringing with it a deafening whirr.

The deep night seascape shows that the Navy are permanently on call ‘twenty four seven’ – not just for day shifts. Over all, once this short succinct advert has finished you are left with a sense of triumph using teamwork – especially at the end of the film when together they tackle the drug smugglers. A tough, strong, clear, masculine voice concludes the advert. However he doesn’t come across as particularly well spoken , which again brings in the point that the Navy is open to people of different social status. A fact is said about what the

Navy has achieved with drug smuggling issues. This shows the audience that you can really make a difference and help globally when you’re in the Royal Navy. The slogan at the end of the video is “Royal Navy – The team works.” This stays in your head and also has a triple meaning, which makes you think. Depending on which word you stress you think of it in different ways e.g. ‘the team-works’ , ‘the team works’ (the Royal Navy is a working job) or ‘the team works’ (the work as a team) – you could say it is a pun. Once this has been said the Royal Navy flag motif comes on centre screen with contacts on either side, hoping that suitable members of the audience will have been inspired by the adventurous, action advert and will look into starting a career with the Navy. The film portrays becoming a member of the Royal Navy as being a very worthwhile job to you and to the world.

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