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11 03 2014

Campaigning for Service Voting

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It has been a pleasure to be involved once again in attempts to improve the ability of servicemen to vote, and thus raise the number that then do. The Army Rumour Service (ARRSE) community played a key role in the British Armed Forces Federation service voting campaign in 2005 which resulted in mentions in both Houses of Parliament.  Similar campaigns have been a regular feature of ARRSE ever since.

This year we’ve been advertising the Electoral Commission’s About my Vote page dedicated to the Armed Forces voter.  This provides detailed information for members of the Armed Forces, their spouses or civil partners on the options for registering to vote and the methods by which they can actually cast their vote.

We’re extremely pleased that the Electoral Commission has recognised that ARRSE is an important method of reaching servicemen and their families.

High profile ex-military recruitment specialist ForceSelect has started a major advertising campaign with us, and their job vacancy list now take pride of place in the centre of the Army Rumour Service front page.  Additionally all of our sites now carry a “jobs” menu tab linking to ForceSelect.

ForceSelect

“ForceSelect has a team of highly experienced recruitment professionals and ex-service personnel who provide the necessary understanding and guidance to both Jobseekers and employers. It is our intention that Forces personnel, the MoD, service charities and of course the wider business community should benefit from the services provided by ForceSelect.”

In July 2011 ForceSelect won the Best Newcomer Award (UK) at the prestigious Recruiter Awards for Excellence and has more recently won Enterprise of the Year 2013 at the Immigration Awards and been identified as ‘One of the UK’s Brightest New Businesses’ by Startups.

The ForceSelect creative

Advertising Creatives from RSS News Feeds

The use of a news feed in a banner is a simple and effective way to get constantly updated and fresh content in to prime hotspots on the Military Media websites.  The industry standard MPU (medium rectangle) unit with imagery is served from our Doubleclick ad server, then the news content fetched from a normal RSS feed, adjusted to suit the banner format, and displayed within the ad unit.   This system has been used for three recruitment services (currently ForceSelect and ForcesJobShop) but would suit any site with regularly updated content available in RSS or other XML format.

 

More information

The ForceSelect campaign was organised by Laura Sherlock PR.

For more information about ForceSelect please visit their website here.

Amid, all the recent media hype over the discovery that JK Rowling has released a novel under the nom de plume of Robert Galbraith we were also excited to make a discovery of our own. The hero of ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ is an ex RMP/SIB soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan but still misses his time in the Army. It would also appear that he is a big fan of the Army Rumour Service and visits the site to:

access ‘the army mindset in its every particular, written in the language he too could speak fluently … the acronyms he had known by heart; the jokes impenetrable to outsiders; every concern of service life, from the father whose son was being bullied at his school in Cyprus to retrospective abuse of the Prime Minister’s performance at the Chilcot Inquiry

jk-rowling-cuckoos-calling-review

We are very pleased to announce that we’ll be working with the House of Commons Defence Committee to assist their examination of the Ministry of Defence’s Future Army 2020 plans.  This will be hosted on a dedicated forum on the Army Rumour Service website.

parliament_hocRt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

We have already held an evidence session on the MoD’s plans for the future of the Army with General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff. As we continue our inquiry, we want to hear the views of as many people as possible on the MoD’s plans. We are extremely grateful to the Army Rumour Service for hosting this discussion.

Links:

Military Media is pleased to announce that Hereford based retailer and distributor, Trekitt Ltd will be extending their current campaign into Autumn 2013. Director Paul Trepte stated:

It has been hugely beneficial for us to work with (Military Media) who have been extremely helpful and professional in all our dealings. The campaign to promote the launch of the new AKU Pilgrim boot on the Army Rumour Service and KitReviews.com has been so successful that we have now almost sold out!

We have lots going on in the future and are very much looking forward to running similar campaigns with the Military Media portfolio of websites.

Trekitt Military Boot Specialist

We were pleased to be invited to visit BP’s Online and Informal Learning Team, to present The Army Rumour Service as a social media case study.  Under the leadership of Nick Shackleton-Jones,  the team is implementing e-learning systems for BP and intend to include peer-to-peer and community features such as forums and video sharing.

bp-logo2There’s no doubt that the team face some challenges, of which building the momentum necessary to make an online community busy and therefore an interesting to spend time is not the least. Some of the key attractions of an informal community website such as the Army Rumour Service are simply not possible in a corporate environment.   Much of our success derives from anonymity, relaxed content rules that allow a high degree of free speech, and the feel of a slightly rebellious online club.  The Army’s own little-used ArmyNet forums are an example of a corporate community that has suffered through the absence of one or all of these, and that has not found a way to overcome this.

Fortunately BP are not trying to create an equivalent to ArmyNet, nor a corporate version of an independent forum like ours, but rather a social e-learning system.  They have a clear aim, learning, and a large amount of interesting content to draw users in, regardless of the social aspect of the system.  They also have other advantages over anyone starting an online community project from scratch – Nick mentioned 80,000 potential users, and of course up to date contact details are available for all of these allowing instant and powerful marketing.   BP also has a strong identity, and goes to great lengths to make sure that this is a positive and attractive one for its employees.  Once again this is not the case for many independent community websites.  In our case the common identity of our users is an interest in the military, but otherwise they are a surprisingly disparate group.

There are areas of our own sites that could benefit from a more question-and-answer based knowledge system, for example military recruiting.  We’ll therefore be very interested to see what I’m sure will be a truly cutting-edge community e-learning system, and particularly the shape and success of the peer-to-peer community element. Thanks to Nick and the team at BP for hosting us.


Nick Shackleton-Jones regularly blogs on e-learning matters on aconventional.

Military Media is pleased to announce that the Forces Pension Society will be extending their current campaign to cover the middle of 2013.  A spokesman, Malcolm Summerfield, said:
Forces Pension Society

I thought you would like to know that the investment we make with Military Media continues to justify its place on our schedule and has contributed to the enrolment of record numbers of new members over the past three years.

As you’re aware, the work we do for the Society is monitored and evaluated in terms of the response received and return on investment. Although we don’t have the same opportunity as we do in press media to include key numbers, we have sufficient data through our web analytics to show that Military Media websites are very successful in driving visitors to our website. And we have a close correlation between web visitors and the numbers of new members who join FPS.

The fact that we also have the opportunity of contributing to comments on the Forum helps us correct factual inaccuracies in perceptions of what Armed Forces Pensions (and changes in policy) deliver, and means we are able to inform as well as recruit.

We were recently invited to the press screening of the new BBC Three comedy series, Bluestone 42.  Based around a six man bomb disposal team operating in Afghanistan it has been written by the team behind the BBC smash hit Miranda.

bluestone42

 

As part of the BBC’s efforts to ensure that it was likely to be acceptable to members of the Armed Forces we were shown three episodes and asked for our opinion.  This was then quoted by James Rampton in the Independent on 5 March 2013

Military personnel say Bluestone 42 feels authentic. A spokesman for the ARRSE (Army Rumour Service) website, a former major who served in Afghanistan, but does not wish to be identified, said Bluestone 42 was a convincing evocation of Army life. “The most important thing is that it is actually funny. It treats a serious subject with an appropriate degree of humour. The characters are all people that soldiers will recognise. They will say, ‘yes, I know him,’ or ‘I’ve worked with that person’. It’s also absolutely spot-on about how you do banter in the military.

“The people with the best sense of humour are the military. Humour is institutionalised in the Armed Forces. It’s vital that people take the piss out of each other. Soldiers understand that risk is part of the job. If you get injured, you deal with it with black humour. That’s an essential part of the human coping mechanism.”

For our full thoughts on the series then please read our review.

As part of the BBC Radio 4 coverage of the Armed Forces Tranche 3 redundancy announcement on 22 Jan 12, the Army Rumour Service was interviewed by Eddie Mair for the lead story on the PM programme.

Our part of the coverage can be heard below.

10 01 2013

Mobile App Advertising now Available

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Olive Net is pleased to announce that we can now place display advertising directly in to our Military Media iOS and Android mobile forum applications through our standard ad server.  This can be part of a larger website campaign with us, or as a mobile-only campaign.  The combined mobile website and mobile application inventory is in excess of one million ad impressions per month.

Navy Net mobile applicationiPhone mobile app icon

The two largest Military Media communities, the Army Rumour Service and Navy Net, have mobile optimised websites and both iOS and Android apps, available for download from iTunes and Google Play respectively.  The apps allow fully featured, fast and user friendly access to the most important areas of our sites, and have proved very popular with our users.

Our mobile inventory includes two industry standard mobile banner sizes; 320x50px for mobile phones and Android tablets, and 728x90px for iPads.  Larger format inventory for Android tablets will also be offered shortly.

iPad ScreenshotiPad Screenshot

 


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