Army calls in PRs ahead of national recruitment drive

LONDON - The Army has appointed Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster to spearhead a £250,000 national recruitment PR drive in the week that it faces allegations that British soldiers mistreated Iraqi prisoners of war.

Biss Lancaster corporate practice group managing director Belinda Taylor is leading the account and is provisionally briefed to promote the Army as a career path.

It is the first time the Army has called in PR support for a coordinated national campaign. Past recruitment efforts have been directed from the Army's local recruitment centres and supported by Golley Slater. The Army also uses Focus Consulting, which it appointed to handle PR around ethnic minority recruitment last year.

Details of the new brief will be put together next month, although Biss Lancaster and ad agency Publicis were due to attend an initial meeting with officials from the Army's recruitment group yesterday.

Army recruiting group HQ marketing director Mark Bainbridge said the brief would require "sensitivity to the wider social and political environment as well as an understanding of the nature of the Army itself".

Although the Army uses Biss Lancaster on a separate brief to manage its general reputation, operational issues, such as the fall-out from the alleged "abuse" photographs in the Daily Mirror, will continue to be handled by the Ministry of Defence.

Biss Lancaster beat Consolidated Communications, Good Relations, Grayling and Munro & Forster Communications to land the brief.

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