Waging media war with the Bundeswehr
The new recruitment offensive of German army Bundeswehr went way too far. We launched an anticampaign that counters the glorifying aesthetics with some disturbing facts from the real life as a soldier in the Bundeswehr.
In November 2015 German army Bundeswehr launched a full scale recruitment campaign. With over 30.000 billboard ads in all German cities, with high-class advertisement videos and an overall budget of 11 million Euros, they penetratingly tell the tale of the cool job as a soldier.
Their message is simple: become a soldier and you will get fun, adventure, companionship, tanks and a meaning in life. With trendy high gloss aesthetics and youthful cool wording they target mainly young people. That is a continuation of a strategy the Bundeswehr intensified ever since conscription was abolished in 2011: since adults are just not interested in military service anymore, they recruit young people – in schools, sports and music events.
The thrill of mine diving, companionship in the squad, ultra-modern technology and equipment and the gratifying feeling of doing something good for the society – the job as a soldier supposedly is diverse, challenging and motivational. But in the elaborately produced videos of the campaign some issues are deliberately not mentioned: the training for killing, the high rate of soldiers who return from foreign assignment with post-traumatic stress disorder, the heavy sexism in the forces and the right-wing attitude among some fellow soldiers.
We wanted to oppose the narrative of the Bundeswehr with some facts from real life and launched an anti-campaign. Within only one day we had over 150,000 visitors on our website, we were ranked higher than the original site in Google and got a storm of interview inquiries, blog posts and press articles. Obviously we weren’t the only ones who were annoyed of the Bundeswehr.