The Indian Army has rolled out an incredible ad campaign to find more officers

More daredevils needed.
More daredevils needed.
Image: AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal
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“I wear my heart on my sleeve and my resume on my uniform. Which other company lets you do that?”

That’s the pitch the Indian Army is making in a new series of advertisements to try and get more men and women to join its ranks.

It needs these new recruits rather urgently: The Indian Army has a shortfall of 33,998 personnel, including 9,642 officers. The manpower situation has improved in recent years, but the army still operates with an officer cadre that is 18% lower than the official sanctioned number.

“The brief was two-pronged,” Vineet Singh, vice president and business head at Grey Group, the ad agency selected by the government to develop the campaign, told Quartz via email. “The primary objective was to attract quality candidates for a career with the Indian Army. Specifically in the officer cadre. The secondary objective is an image projection of the Indian Army.”

In all, nine advertisements have been launched, which were shot in two schedules between November 2014 and March 2015. “These ads were shot in multiple army bases across the country. All the people featuring in these ads are Indian Army officers. Location, equipment (artillery, BMPs, tanks, helicopters etc), ammunition was provided by the Indian Army,” Singh explained.

The Indian Army knows that it has a bit of a perception problem. The “availability of attractive alternative career avenues, stringent selection criteria, and difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk” were keeping young Indian men and women away from the forces, defence minister Manohar Parrikar explained in parliament earlier this year.

By launching this campaign right before the recruitment season kicks off in November-December, the Indian Army is attempting a bit of an image makeover. But it isn’t alone. The Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force will also roll out new recruitment campaigns soon, Singh said.