Woolworths' new ANZAC brand campaign comes under fire from Minister for Veterans Affairs

Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans Affairs, demanded Woolworths remove its ANZAC-inspired brand campaign, less than 24 hours after it began.

Woolworths’ attempt to get involved in the Gallipoli centenary backfired after social media users created memes spoofing the social media movement.

Ronaldson, also Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, phoned Woolworths around 7pm last night, demanding the campaign be shut down, the SMH reported.

“As soon as I became aware of it we called Woolworths and said they didn’t have permission and that we wanted the site pulled down,” Ronaldson told Fairfax Media.

“I have been very rigorous in ensuring that we protect the dignity of the word Anzac and that it is not used for purely commercial purposes.

“It is important that the word if not trivialised or used inappropriately and I believe it was in this campaign.”

In the lead up to the April 25 centenary of Australia and New Zealand’s WWI efforts at Gallipoli, the supermarket chain asked people to share picture tributes of those affected by war on social media using the companies new profile picture generator website.

The campaign was reportedly designed by brand agency Carrspace, appointed to Woolworths’ experiential agency panel in March.

Not long after it was live, the “Fresh In Our Memories” branded image campaign was manipulated and abused by users who posted a variety of different pictures, which was accompanied by text added by Woolworths: “Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015. Fresh in our memories”.

The site has since been taken down, with Woolworths posting the following message on their Facebook page:

The Fresh in Our Memories website has been taken down this evening. The site was developed to give our staff and customers a place to put their stories to mark the Centenary of ANZAC.
We regret that our branding on the picture generator has caused offence, this was clearly never our intention. Like many heritage Australian companies, we were marking our respect for ANZAC and our veterans.
We continue to be proud supporters of the RSL and Camp Gallipoli in this important year and look forward to working with them into the future.

Some criticised Woolworths for using the ANZAC remembrance as a marketing strategy, while others got creative, tagging their memes with the hashtags #freshinourmemories and #brandzacday.

Senator Ronaldson said he would consider taking legal action against Woolworths but acknowledged the company’s quick decision to take down the site.

Companies wanting to use the word ANZAC in a commercial context must apply to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs office under the Protection of the Word Anzac Act 1920.

Businesses using the word without permission face penalties of up to $50,000.

Here are some of the user-generated photos, taken from Twitter.

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