Akriti Shrivastava and Ashee Sharma

Indian Army: Beyond the borders

Grey Group India's campaign for the Indian Army projects the armed forces as a professional organisation that offers different and exciting roles for the youth.

Grey Group India has conceptualised a new campaign that calls upon the Indian youth to join the country's 'most exciting' workplace, the Indian Army. The campaign comprising nine videos, projects the Indian Army as a full-fledged working organisation that offers as many as 20 different roles.

The youth's perception of the Indian Army has been of fighters standing on a perpetual standby mode with heavy machine guns and tanks to fight the enemy at the border. While valour and patriotism remain the key areas of focus for the armed forces, this is the first time the Indian Army has pitched itself against industries like IT, medicine and media, professions that usually attract the youth.

Indian Army: Beyond the borders
Vineet Singh, vice president and business head, Grey Group India, informs that in order to gather these insights, the agency carried out an extensive consumer research which included talking to college students as well as army officers, across the nation. The results showed that while careers like technology, media and entertainment caught the fancy of the youth, to join the Indian Army was not on their radar.
Indian Army: Beyond the borders
"We found that the youth's perception of the Indian army is starkly different from what is actually experienced by army officers. While youngsters perceive the army to be driven only by combat roles using outdated technology, the reality is that it has over 20 diverse career disciplines offering an all-round lifestyle and it is constantly modernising itself with cutting edge technology. Thus, the challenge was to showcase this relatively lesser known side of the army," says Singh.

The campaign has targeted young people, between the ages of 16 to 27 years who are on the threshold of a career choice. There are several opportunities offered by the Indian Army to those who aspire to don the olive green uniform, to join at different stages. A candidate can join through NDA (National Defence Academy) after Class 12, or through IMA (Indian Military Academy) after graduation. The OTA (Officers' Training Academy) at Chennai, provides the opportunity for those who are interested in short service commission.

Talking about the creative brief, Singh notes, "The brief was two-pronged. While the primary objective was to attract quality candidates to a career with the Indian Army, the secondary objective was to project it as a thrilling workplace."

As for the 'coolness quotient' of the army, Singh adds, "The campaign showcases the reality of the Indian Army. This is exactly what we saw and experienced in our interactions with the officers of the Indian Army and the communication reflects just that."

Indian Army: Beyond the borders
Dheeraj Sinha, chief strategy officer, GREY South East Asia, further explains, "Culturally, whenever we say Indian Army, the first image that comes to our mind is Sunny Deol firing a Bazooka on the Pakistan border. In eulogising the physical valour and extraordinariness, the army imagery has pushed itself in one corner. The current campaign reinforces the fact that the Indian Army offers just the right exposure to today's youth, a playground where they can show off their talent."

The 360-degree campaign consists of nine TV commercials, multiple print ads and radio spots. While the ATL leg of the campaign will build an excitement around the brand Indian Army and the diverse career options offered by it, the digital leg will give a sneak peek into the true and all-round life of army men.

Considering the popularity of the Indian Army on social media, the digital leg of the campaign that will commence from November, will be an important element of the outreach programme. As per the agency, Indian Army's official Facebook page has topped the People Talking About That (PTAT) ranking for Facebook pages (PTAT ranking is based on the analysis of the number of people talking about or on a particular page), its official website gets as many as 25 lakh hits every week and the Twitter handle of the Indian Army has 4,47,000 followers.

Exciting Enough?

Highly impressed by the campaign, Sameer Aasht, founder-director, Alma Mater Biz Solutions, and former strategy head, Taproot India, says, he is "amazed to see such provocative and persuasive work".

Indian Army: Beyond the borders
Indian Army: Beyond the borders
"There are very few campaigns which one comes across and feels this is a campaign I would have loved to work on. This is the kind that perfectly fits the bill. Sharply focussed on the youth at the verge of making a life decision, it pitches adventure over patriotism, insightfully leveraging the competitive advantage of a more meaningful and exciting life vis-a-vis various other mundane careers," states Aasht.

In his opinion, the ad is also well shot, has befitting music and a confident cast. "I am sure this will get the adrenaline rushing and lead to a great response," he adds.

According to Sonal Narain, chief strategy officer, Cheil India, the strategy behind the ad is "bang on". "Which kid in today's progress/exposure-hungry India doesn't want a cool job that gives benefits for life, exotic postings and more? Getting them to see a job in the army for what it is -a life less ordinary- is a very compelling thought," she says.

Narain, however, thinks that it falls short on some parameters. "Recasting the Army as a corporation is about overturning a perception, but the fairly expected visual montage and the deep-throated voiceover smacks of an air of self-importance typical of "saving the world" kind of messages one associates with army advertising. I would've expected a new story of an interesting job and an interesting organisation to be told in a more human and personal manner," she points out.

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com