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New British Army recruitment campaign celebrates power of learning from failure

The ‘Fail. Learn. Win’ campaign was informed by research suggesting 81% of young people do not achieve their goals ‘because of fear of failure’.

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Video grab from the British Army’s new recruitment campaign (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

Video grab from the British Army’s new recruitment campaign (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

Video grab from the British Army’s new recruitment campaign (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

The power of learning from failure and turning it into success is celebrated in a new British Army campaign aiming to inspire new recruits.

The “Fail. Learn. Win” recruitment campaign, launching on Thursday, focuses on how failings can be “the first step towards victory” and not a reason to quit.

It was informed by research suggesting 81% of young people do not achieve their goals “because of fear of failure”, with the campaign aiming to combat perceptions that failure is a weakness.

The research, conducted by data insight firm Perspectus Global and based on responses from 1,003 young people aged 16 to 25 in November last year, found 76% felt “held back by a fear of failure when taking on new challenges”.

Some 54% claimed “a fear of judgment from other people was the main reason they were scared to fail”.

However, 78% admitted to “learning from past failure” and 83% agreed that “failure is an important part of learning and growing”.

The latest British Army recruitment campaign is the fifth version of the “This is Belonging” series developed by creative agency Karmarama together with outsourcing firm Capita plc.

It follows on from last year’s “Army Confidence Lasts A Lifetime” campaign which claimed that military service can give longer-lasting confidence than the “quick hits” of modern life.

The new “Fail. Learn. Win.” campaign will be launched across TV, radio, the internet and social media.

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Video grab from the Army’s new ‘Fail. Learn. Win.’ recruitment campaign (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

Video grab from the Army’s new ‘Fail. Learn. Win.’ recruitment campaign (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

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Video grab from the Army’s new ‘Fail. Learn. Win.’ recruitment campaign (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

Televised adverts show a soldier overcoming their struggle to keep pace on a training march and another battling to climb out of mud while on a night operation.

A voiceover in one asks: “What’s the first step towards victory? Failure,” adding: “You fail, you learn, so you can win when it really matters.”

In radio adverts, soldiers give examples of how they are “failing but trying” in their training: one talks about struggling with public speaking and embracing her mistakes, another soldier fails to establish a stable satellite connection, and a reserve soldier struggles to speak while swimming in full kit.

Lieutenant General Sir Tyrone Urch, Commander Home Command, said: “In a uniquely demanding year for us all, it has been remarkable and really encouraging to see the huge numbers of talented young people looking to join the Army.

“It’s testament to a fantastic team effort, to dedicated staff going the extra mile in extraordinary circumstances, to another great marketing campaign, and of course to the impressive young men and women who volunteer to serve.

It reminds us that in the Army we are proud to train to the point of failure, so we can learn and grow. That’s the way we nail it when it really matters.Lieutenant General Sir Tyrone Urch

“The 2021 ‘Fail. Learn. Win.’ campaign will take us forwards again. At its core it reminds us that in the Army we are proud to train to the point of failure, so we can learn and grow. That’s the way we nail it when it really matters.

“Aim too low and succeed? No thanks. We’re the British Army. Be the best.”

Nick Terry, chief marketing officer recruiting group, said: “We take great pride in seeing candidates grow in confidence throughout the recruitment process.

“There can be a perception that there is no room for failure in an Army career, but we want to show that failure is embraced as a powerful learning tool with this year’s recruitment campaign.

“We hope the campaign will lead to potential applicants seeing the Army as a supportive place where they can fail, learn and win as part of a continually uplifting team to become the best version of themselves.

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Televised adverts show a soldier overcoming their struggle to keep pace on a training march (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

Televised adverts show a soldier overcoming their struggle to keep pace on a training march (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

PA

Televised adverts show a soldier overcoming their struggle to keep pace on a training march (Karmarama/The British Army/PA)

“The recruitment campaign in 2020 was one of our most successful to date and we hope to replicate that success in 2021.

“In January last year, four days after launch of the last campaign, the record was broken for the highest number of applications received in a single day.”

The British Army works with Capita on the Recruiting Partnering Project to attract new regular Army and reserve recruits.

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