Military Recruitment Advertising, Public Relations and Propaganda
Brendan's primary research interest is military recruitment advertising, public relations and propaganda. He began exploring this topic in his PhD, which analysed a series of recruitment campaigns organised in Britain and Ireland in the twentieth century, and has since branched out to consider contemporary global developments in a forthcoming Routledge volume (see publications). The main means of attracting men, women and even children to armed forces, recruitment campaigns promote ideals of service that contribute to the militarisation of society and culture. Brendan studies them to try to understand how recruiters operate, what strategies they deploy to entice civilians to the military, and whether such strategies are actually effective. He also explores the role of commercial advertising and public relations professionals in recruitment campaigns and the ways in which they effectively commodify military service.
The Origins and Development of Government Communications
Brendan is also interested in government communications more generally and has explored aspects of this topic in articles in Contemporary British History and Public Relations Review. When did politicians, elected officials and civil servants begin using the media to garner mass public support? What role did private enterprise, and commercial advertising and public relations agencies in particular, play in such work, and were their attempts to inform, manipulate or coerce the public actually successful? These are some of questions Brendan seeks to answer in this particular strand of his research, and he plans to generate more outputs in this domain in the coming years.