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Check out the UK Scout Association’s newest recruiting video

I love what the Boy Scouts of America’s Marketing team has done with its new recruiting materials. (If you haven’t seen them, drop everything and take a look.)

But my BSA pride doesn’t preclude me from pointing out the latest bit of genius from our Scouting friends across the pond.

It started with an e-mail from Elis Matthews. As Senior Editor of the UK version of Scouting magazine, Elis, at least in his job title, is the British version of me — or am I the American version of him? Either way, we’ve never met, but he and I have exchanged e-mails whenever our magazine duties require. So when I get an e-mail from him, I take notice.

Today, Elis sent me the video seen below. It’s an unorthodox recruiting video, but I think it’s subtly brilliant.

The video speaks to parents of young people when it concludes: “This should be the best years of their lives. With your help we can make that happen.”

Through beautiful images, strong music, and almost no dialogue, the six-minute video shows how Scouts reject the misguided ways of youth and build solid relationships to become better people. That’s as true in the U.S. as it is there.

A Web site for the video states, “Young people who have participated in a youth or sport club are less likely to drink or smoke, more likely to participate in physical activity, [and] more likely to have a good relationship with other adults.”

Again, that could be said about American Scouts too, right? In fact, that statement sounds a lot like the findings outlined in the Eagle Scout study I told you about in April, doesn’t it?

Check out the video below, and thanks to Elis for passing it on!

What do you think?

How effective was this video in sharing the message of Scouting? Leave your thought below.

25 Comments on Check out the UK Scout Association’s newest recruiting video

  1. Wow…Makes me want to “jump ship”, go to England, and be one of THEIR leaders!! *smiling* Why can’t the BSA do something similiar — long form commericals like this one? And note that their “uniform” was the NECKERCHIEF and slide!!

    • Wayne Ellis // June 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm // Reply

      Notice no adults, Boy led

      • Don’t forget the rest of B-P’s quote —
        “Scouting is a game for boys under the leadership of boys
        under the direction of a man.”
        Some troops forget the DIRECTION OF A MAN part in their effort to be “boy-led”.

    • A necker-only uniform would certainly make upkeep on your website a lot easier on you!!

    • Danny Helfen // June 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm // Reply

      I like how the Boys and Girls (Venturing) look in the uniform. It was an interesting video. The Class B Shirts keep it low key.

      • Bill Nelson // June 14, 2012 at 11:44 am // Reply

        UK Scout uniforms are very similar to our class B uniform

      • Danny: they were ALL Scouts. No Venturers. In the UK, males and females may be members of Boy Scout Troops. What we see here are members of two distinct Troops. Each Troop has a distinctive, unique and *registered* neckerchief. This is also why the Scout in the first and last segments stores his neckerchief in a box in a drawer…because unlike us in the USA, neckerchiefs in England (and most other places) are *very special items*.

    • Mario Soto // June 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm // Reply

      The uniform is tradition I know, but it’s perceived as uncool by other teens. Using the uniforms for formal occasions only is fine, but this neckerchief idea has potential, or a cool hi-tech Class B uni that shows them as athletes and future heroes. Something a boy can proudly wear to school like a football uniform.

  2. Thank you that was very powerful!

  3. Christina Seeger // June 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm // Reply

    While I understand the point of the recruiting message, aimed at youth, the complete lack of adults in this campaign is concerning. Boy Scouts is a boy-led, boy-run organization, but the boys must be trained to be leaders ( This video makes it seem like the scouts are on their own, which is far from the truth here, and I hope in the UK as well.

    • Hi Christina!!

      While yes, adult supervision *most of the time* is necessary, this was not an entire Troop but rather two different Patrols from two different Troops which were taking part in in the activities shown. With the approval from the Scoutmaster, American Boy Scouts in a Patrol under a trained Patrol Leader, can do many of the same things. Of course, they took some liberties with the rifle marksmanship (both nations require adults to be present when doing things like that).

      • In a lot of the world, the youth have a bigger leadership role than in the BSA. It is common for the older youth to lead in the younger sections (like Den Chiefs here), and youth leadership extends beyond the troop. One of our Scouts moved back to Canada; now he is an Eagle and a Chief Scout, and also a Youth Commissioner for his area in Saskatchewan.

        Very well directed. I love the quick shift of focus at 4:59 to show the housing projects in the background of the campout.

  4. I thought it was well done and I agree with Mike Walton.

  5. The BSA is quite different than the Scouting of the UK, and that is perhaps part of the hold back in an add campaign like this. Take for instance, this video that really sums up the old of scouting (similar to what the BSA often sounds like) and what the UK Scouting is showing (which is remarkably similar to the scouting vision that the Summit and the next Jamboree show).

    The BSA stll has some of the ‘older’ parts of scouting, uniform, no girls, emphasis on skills as compared to the UK Scouting. Well, all except Venturing, which very much could fit into the adventure club model of the UK Scouts.

  6. In terms of the audience, the experience of the -average- British youth and the average American youth are very different, and British youth excel over their European peers in pregnancy and crime rates. Surveys* have shown that large numbers of British adults actually fear British youth, and the ad clearly plays on that fear against the backdrop of the recent riots across the country using soundclips of the violence. Although British adults and media have been demonizing their young men especially (as roving gangs of “yobs” and “chavs”), of course there are lots of the youth themselves who must be just as fearful for themselves and their own futures. In this approach, this ad is actually very similar to the BSA’s TV ad featuring George Takei**, who tells us that he escaped the violence of his urban upbringing by joining Scouts [for protection], “the biggest gang in the city.”

    All that said, the British Scouting association definitely did its research when it was deciding what angle to take. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a solid ad. I would say that it takes far too long to get to the point, though.


    • Bill Nelson // June 14, 2012 at 11:34 am // Reply

      My understanding is that the UK scouts have been steadily increasing in membership the last few years. Especially in the mid-teen ages.

  7. Darron Ray // June 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm // Reply

    I want to buy that hoodie that Bear is wearing. Where can I buy it at in the USA or do I need to go across the pond?

  8. Thank you Mike Walton… you input helped me a great, without it I had many concerns.

  9. Deaf Scouter & Eagle Mom // June 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm // Reply

    What do I think? They are behind in the times. There is NO captions. Something that is so simple to add in this techno age and MUST. I wouldn’t recommend it nor give it a second glance.

    • I turned the sound down and viewed the entire video again. I don’t think that I missed anything by not being able to hear it; however, you are correct that there should have been a dialogue text version available. Perhaps the Scout Association does have such a version. Sorry you feel that it wasn’t worth your time in reviewing and/or sharing.

      • Having been in the advertising industry for the past (yikes, almost) 25 years, we Yanks have to realize that the Brit’s have a VERY different way of creating and telling stories through advertising.

        They are willing to take lots of risks and push the boundaries of ideas and issues (especially social/sexual/political) than us. America is considered very tame and puritanical in it’s approach to advertising as compared to the Brits. If you have not seen ads from the British Advertising Awards, they are wonderful, different, poignant, and sometimes down-right striking in their boldness.

        This was superbly produced and executed and works for the audience intended.

  10. Hi all, and thanks for adding to the discussion around this campaign. In answer to Darron’s question you can get the i.Scout hoodie (and a whole other range of products) at

  11. Reblogged this on Algonquin District and commented:
    There are two videos here – one directed at youth that makes BeAScout look pretty tame and the other a good piece on volunteering –

  12. Keith Wood // June 16, 2012 at 11:18 am // Reply

    The Canadians also do a very good job of telling the fun side of Scouting. Some of our newer ads show more of the outdoor, but too often I think we push the character side to parents, and the kids miss the hook that gets them interested.

  13. Todd Martin // June 18, 2012 at 10:38 am // Reply

    I really like this video and i think it is designed for the generation X age group about the state of youth (in Britain). I like that no adults are shown but clearly are needed to facilitate youth finding their own path. The Summit videos are great and our national membership department needs to use whatever agency is producing the Summit materials for our youth marketing instead of the Badge of Honor campaign which is not clear on what is going on. I wonder how much testing was done with that. The artwork is just okay, the videos are pretty good but the activities are clearly staged. One more point – you can’t buy the shirts in the Badge of Honor videos but you can buy the shirts in the UK video. hmmmm.

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