Canada

RCMP ads target millennials to replace retiring officers

The RCMP has started running recruitment ads in youth-oriented media in an attempt to attract new police officers. Find out how that organization and other police forces are trying to recruit new officers in 2015.

Campaign styles reflect the type of recruit that police forces hope to attract

The RCMP is actively recruiting millennials to replace retiring officers. (RCMP)

Over the summer, the RCMP started running recruitment ads on the Much TV network and other youth-oriented media.

Here's how that organization is attempting to attract new police officers in 2015.

If this ad seems familiar, it might be because its style, suspenseful music and militaristic action shots are reminiscent of recent Canadian Armed Forces commercials, which end with the government's same "Canada, Strong, Proud, Free" logo.

But not all police forces present such an aggressive image to attract recruits.

In this current ad from Ontario's Peel Regional Police, we see an endless stream of smiley-faced police officers interacting with the community on a sunny day.

A 2001 ad from the U.K.'s College of Policing takes a more complex, philosophical approach. In it, we see boxer Lennox Lewis discussing how challenging police work can be.

This ad for Kentucky's Louisville Metro Police focuses on personal and career benefits.

But aside from helping to portray the desired personality type of potential officers, recruitment campaigns also target specific demographics, as in this 2011 RCMP video.

The RCMP also targeted gays and lesbians with a 2007 career ad in a gay lifestyle magazine. Similarly, last year the Western Australia Police targeted female recruits with this commercial.

While ads that target demographics can be effective, research from Toronto's Rotman School of Management found that prospects are more likely to be persuaded by ads that target their personality type.

Therefore, ads that portray police officers as friendly, empathetic and able to navigate complex situations tend to attract a corresponding type of person, and ads that portray a police force as aggressive and militaristic tend to attract recruits with similar personalities.


Bruce Chambers is a syndicated advertising columnist for CBC Radio.

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