After A Week of Bad News from the USAF, The RAF Just Said Everything That Needs to Be Said About Gender.
Military gender roles have been a hot-point issue even before the integration of genders in the military began. The debate surfaced again last week in headlines about the suspension of USAF Capt. Zoe Kotnik who was relieved of her command position as the Air Force’s F-16 Demonstration Team pilot after only two weeks in the assignment.
Britain’s Royal Air Force took on the military gender debate in typically British fashion with a new recruiting video for the RAF published on Friday, February 15, 2019. It says everything that needs to be said about gender in the military.
Using sound bites from tired marketing cliché’s that prey on gender stereotypes and insecurities, the video rolls images of gender integration in the Royal Air Force in every job from combat medic to Typhoon combat pilot.
The commercial features RAF personnel processing classified intelligence, conducting combat search and rescue and flying an RAF Typhoon on a low-level penetration mission through the famous Mach Loop in Wales. The title of the video, “No Room for Clichés”, speaks to the military ideal that gender is blind in the services. While this has clearly not been the reality in many gender related issues in military service, this video helps to recalibrate that ideal.
No matter what gender you identify as, the video sends a strong message about service and dedication. It’s a message that should be included in the ongoing discussion of gender in the military. It wraps up with the tagline, “Women should be defined by actions, not clichés”. This masterfully written tagline comes after misconduct allegations in the USAF and is a brilliantly honed double-edged message that cuts both ways, holding all genders accountable and equal.
According to a story by journalist Emma Hall for the marketing industry publication More About Advertising, “The idea came from Channel 4’s new diversity study, which found that the main problem with adverts featuring women is the roles they play, not the level of representation.”
The commercial just won Channel 4’s “Diversity in Advertising” award.
Sara Dunlop, who directed the ad, told reporters, “This campaign was so satisfying to be involved with. By calling out the clichés and celebrating the incredible real women that work in the RAF, it also became my own personal stand against all the female advertising out there that continues to patronize its audience.”
Ad and film director Sara Dunlop who directed the new RAF commercial is a top film graduate from the prestigious University of Westminster. Dunlop was recently named one of the “Top 25 Directors to Watch” by Creativity Magazine. Her productions demonstrate remarkable cinematic realism and a gritty, documentary feel apparent in this new RAF commercial. Dunlop has been credited with a, “gift for narrative storytelling” that shows in this new RAF advert. Director Dunlop is no stranger to edgy, honest and opaque visual messaging. She has produced promotional visuals for Levis, Virgin Trains, Vodafone, Sky and Facebook.