The Army has released a series of videos which tell potential recruits it is okay to to be emotional, gay and religious in a drive to encourage people from all backgrounds.
A £1.6m scheme will see the 40-second long animations broadcast on television, radio and digital platforms.
They explore the questions:
:: Can I be gay in the Army?
:: What if I get emotional in the Army?
:: Can I practise my faith in the Army?
:: Will I be listened to in the Army?
:: Do I have to be a superhero to join the Army?
In the video about emotions, a voice says: “Man up, grow a pair. It feels like as a man, you can never express your emotions.
“I thought joining the Army would be a thousand times worse…but once you’re in, you realise no one is a machine. The Army is family.
“I’ve probably told them things I wouldn’t tell my own family. There’s always someone there to talk to.”
The campaign focuses on inclusivity, with all the videos ending with the phrase: “Find where you belong”.
The video which focuses on sexuality says: “I was really worried about whether I would be accepted, but within days I was more than confident about being who I was…I’m not afraid to talk about having a boyfriend.
“I thought I’d have to hide it, but once you’ve done it you think: Why did I make it such a big thing for so long?”
The ‘This Is Belonging 2018’ campaign comes after the Army faced an outcry over reported plans to scrap its ‘Be the Best’ slogan and historic crest after market research reportedly suggested it was “dated, elitist and non-inclusive” by key audiences.
However, the new adverts have been criticised for failing to appeal to the people who are most likely to want to join.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the BBC: “The main group of people who are interested in joining aren’t worrying so much about whether they are going to be listened to or if there’s an emotional issue.
“What they are worried about more is how they are going to face combat and, not only that – they are going to be attracted by images of combat because that’s why people join the armed forces.
“This also reflects the fact that the Army, like the rest of Government, is being forced down a route of political correctness.”