The British Army was running a very successful bursary programme to help students through university before training them to becomes Army officers. Students who had completed the programme found it extremely rewarding and were great advocates of it. The challenge was that research showed that students were very unresponsive to advertising messages from the British Army – so how could we connect the advocates with the students?
Students who were about to start university were sent an unbranded video carrying the line “All you need to know to get up to £30,000 at university is on this video”. Most people played the video straight away to discover a film that started “This is a booby trap…” whilst others spotted a warning sign that advised them to first rewind the film before watching – they saw the full film that started “Well done…you spotted the warning signs…” followed by a short documentary about the bursary programme featuring the advocates.
Those who did not spot the warning signs saw this film…
Those who did spot the warning signs saw this different version of the film…
The take up of the bursary was outstanding amongst those who had spotted the warning signs and those who had not, as both later said it had changed the way they looked at being an officer in the British Army. It was sited by Army officers and the COI as proving the value of direct communications. And it was rewarded with creative awards from Campaign, Creative Circle and D&AD.