Government Communications Headquarters, the surveillance arm of British intelligence, will begin seeking new recruits by using in-game advertising in popular videogame releases.
The campaign will begin at the end of October and run for one month. The ads for “Careers in British Intelligence” will appear in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Need for Speed Carbon and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars being run in Britain. The ad campaign is being created and run by a partnership of GCHQ, recruitment company TMP Worldwide and in-game ad agency Massive Inc. GCHQ said it hoped the campaign would “capture the imagination of people with a particular interest in IT.”
Kate Clemens of TMP, head of GCHQ’s digital strategy, said the campaign was aimed at frequent gamers who “are particularly receptive to innovative forms of advertising,” adding, “The world of online gaming offers GCHQ a further route to target a captive audience.”
Both British intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, have taken steps in recent years to raise their highly-secretive profile and attempt to attract a broader range of recruits. MI6 cautions that real intelligence work is far removed from the portrayal of James Bond movies, while the MI5 website clarifies that the agency “does not kill people or arrange their assassination.”
“The idea is to make people think more broadly about MI5 as a potential employer,” said one British security official. “We need all kinds of people, not just those who look like they’ve stepped out of an army officer academy.”