Love it, hate it, offended by it... the British Army's latest recruitment campaign has attracted much controversy in an attempt to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z.

This campaign comes hot on the rugged, muddy heels of revelations that the British Army failed to meet its latest recruitment targets, with only 77,000 fully trained troops compared to its 82,500 target. 

The new campaign harks back to the infamous 1914 poster featuring Lord Kitchener and the slogan "Your Country Needs You", of course. That simple, effective, and arguably more 'urgent' message has now cleverly been brought right up to date. 

It's hard to believe that the Kitchener poster is over a century old, but this has inspired us to take a look back over our slogan database to compare recruitment slogans for the various armed forces across the generations. It's safe to say that there have been a few different approaches, and that some have stood the test of time better than others:

  • We're looking for a few good men 
  • 99.9 per cent need not apply.
  • Have you got what it takes?
  • Life without limits
  • It's a state of mind
  • Army Strong
  • Challenge Yourself
  • The Few. The Proud
  • Be All You Can Be
  • Be the Best
  • If you've got it in you, we'll bring it out
  • The Navy will use talents you don't even know you have.

But what of broader messages of inclusivity and diversity? There have been nods to this over the years, including:

  • We're looking for a few good men and women
  • Everybody's somebody in the Royal Navy
  • Many backgrounds, one mission
  • Some of our best men are women
  • Remember you are ladies, but forget you are women.
  • Because of her we can 
  • This is Belonging

Whatever your take on the various approaches taken by the armed forces, you have to salute the fact that this latest campaign has captured the attention and interest of the wider public, even if reactions have been somewhat mixed.

Time will tell whether it will help the Army reach its recruitment targets, or whether another slogan will get its marching orders.