The Anzac legend is central to Australian culture and, with this year marking the Anzac Centenary, it is not surprising that some brands have attempted to align themselves with our national heritage. But brands looking to associate themselves with the Anzac legend and Anzac Day not only run the risk of experiencing consumer backlash, but also falling foul of regulations designed to protect the use of the word Anzac.
Source: ABC News
In a high profile example, supermarket giant Woolworths was last week forced to pull a controversial advertising campaign after consumers expressed their outrage at the supermarket giant, which was perceived to be exploiting the Anzac Centenary. The ‘Fresh in our Memories’ campaign centred on a website that encouraged Australians to share memories of war veterans, by changing their profile picture on social media. The website included a picture generator, where users could upload their own images of people ‘affected or lost to war.’ The image was then branded with the Woolworth’s logo and slogan ‘FRESH IN OUR MEMORIES’ – which many saw as a reference to Woolworths’ brand image as ‘The Fresh Food People. ’ Consumers took to social media to show their dissatisfaction, with many hijacking the picture and creating hashtags such as #brandzacday.
Of course, brands attempting to profit from the Anzac legend is not a new phenomenon and Woolworths is certainly not the first company to come under fire. Earlier this week, retailer Target had to pull ‘Camp Gallipoli’ branded merchandise from its shelves after the Department of Veteran’s Affairs said that the products were ‘inappropriate’ because the primarily featured the word ‘Anzac’ and had minimal reference to ‘Camp Gallipoli.’
What many brands may not know is that the use of the word Anzac is protected under laws established almost 95 years ago, only six years after the landing at Gallipoli. Regulations under the Protection of Word ‘Anzac’ Act 1920 (Cth) (The Act), prohibits people or organisations from using the word ‘Anzac’ in connection with ‘any trade, business, calling or profession or in connection with any entertainment’ without the authority of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. Financial penalties of up to $10,000 for a natural person and up to $51,000 for a company may apply for breaches.
As well as the risk of a consumer outcry, the law in Australia is protective of the use of the word Anzac and, as examples in the lead up to the Anzac Centenary have shown, brands need to be aware of this. As always, if in doubt about your advertising or marketing campaigns, we recommend seeking legal advice.