Women weren’t joining the Irish Defence Forces.

This downturn in recruitment became painfully apparent in 2016 when only 350 women applied. Worse still, 262 of these didn’t show up to the fitness test. Their feet never even touched military soil.

Research uncovered that these poor numbers were due to women assuming they weren’t the right fit for the job. Armed with a shoestring budget, we began the tough task of trying to break this mindset.


With only a small pool of women who would consider careers in the military, we couldn’t rely on mass media to reach them. Instead we became data snipers to find the people who fit. Women who already had the key strengths needed but didn’t know it yet…Women who played team sports.

We worked out that we needed 577 qualified leads to hit our target and narrowed our audience down to 22,800 women.



These 22,800 were women whose brilliance on the sports field wasn’t valued in the real world.

They didn’t know they could get paid for what they are good at – that the Defence Forces need exactly what they have: physical and moral courage, selflessness, loyalty and respect.

We created an action-packed film that let the audience know that this was the career they’d been ‘training for all their lives, they just didn’t know it yet’. 


Our campaign lived on social media. After all, this target audience doesn’t go online, it lives there.

But we didn’t just want exposure, we needed impact.

Thanks to our meticulous data work, we were able to hyper-target the audience through Facebook, not wasting a cent of our severely tight budget.


We had set our ambitions on netting 577 qualified leads – those most likely to apply and succeed.

After just three weeks, we managed to hit the magic 577 number and increase annual applicants by +65%.

The campaign also won a Silver Cannes Lion.

Find more on Rothco's website
Find more on Rothco's website