Brain Food: Slogan Doctor - The Army: Be the best

The slogan the British Army uses for recruitment, a difficult job at the best of times, has a curious history. It was devised at least 10 years ago by Purcell Miller Tritton, a firm of architects given the job of remodelling recruitment offices. But despite its unlikely origins, it has survived.

by John Morrish

It appeals both to self-improvement and patriotism, the belief that while the British Army may not be the biggest - and may not always have enough boots to go round - it is the best. To join up, you need to be one of the elite too. The slogan accompanied a Saatchi & Saatchi campaign suggesting that the modern army was a hi-tech operation teaching skills that would be useful in civilian life. The campaign won lots of awards and brought lots of inquiries. Nonetheless, Saatchis was dropped in 2001, while the slogan lives on. The US Army has had more trouble. It replaced the reliable and not dissimilar 'Be All You Can Be' with 'Army Of One', much mocked for suggesting that service life is the ideal place for the rugged individualist.

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