An Anzac Day marketing campaign has been hastily withdrawn by Woolworths after being embarrassingly slammed by the public and war veterans leaders.
As soon as the ‘Fresh In Our Memories’ campaign was rolled out on Tuesday, social media users hijacked it to generate memes ridiculing the retail giant for trivialising the suffering of Australia’s military personnel and exploiting their memory for commercial gain.
The interactive Anzac campaign offered “Australians the chance to tell their own story, becoming part of the historic Anzac Centenary”. People were invited people to visit a website FreshInOurMemories.com.au (now switched off) to generate a social media profile picture of themselves with a “Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015. Fresh in our memories” message. The image automatically included Woolworths branding.
And, via #freshinourmemories and #brandzacday, it backfired spectacularly…
Hey @woolworths I’m surprised you didn’t run with this image in your fruit & vegie section. #freshinourmemories pic.twitter.com/wPA9Q17ZLF
— Andy Thompson (@SweatyJester) April 14, 2015
Hey @woolworths – also #freshinourmemories, the time you didn’t want to pay your staff penalty rates ON ANZAC DAY! pic.twitter.com/56GBUCBDxE — Kiera (@KieraGorden) April 14, 2015
#freshinourmemories #brandzacday pic.twitter.com/HpLICzxDMh
— Casssssssssssss (@thiscassgirl) April 14, 2015
Lest we forget Australia’s real history #freshinourmemories pic.twitter.com/Fd4DBpOmPA — jennifer mills (@millsjenjen) April 14, 2015
RIP in peace husky big boy #freshinourmemories #brandzacday pic.twitter.com/it1Z35LQqS
— Wes Mountain Goats (@therevmountain) April 14, 2015
Is this what you meant @woolworths #freshinourmemories pic.twitter.com/xttGJjhFx0 — Discombobulate (@Discombobul8) April 14, 2015
It seems @Woolworths jumped the shark #FreshInOurMemories pic.twitter.com/pBO9dJ5o11
— Gareth Williams (@notGareth) April 14, 2015
Game over. We have a winner #freshinourmemories pic.twitter.com/QRrrISpiLo — Nick Stylianou (@kypros1992) April 14, 2015
There’s even the obligatory ‘Hitler Downfall’ video parody for #freshintheirmemories.
“The Australian public speak very clearly and very loudly”
“It’s an unfortunate error on Woolworths’ part,” RSL president Ken Doolan told Channel Nine’s Today show on Wednesday morning.
“I think they’ve taken the right action in pulling it down,” he said, noting that although the company does support the RSL’s annual Anzac badge and veterans poppies drives, it did not consult the organisation about the Fresh In Our Memories campaign.
“There is a very fine line to be judged here; you’re dealing with such sensitive issues,” Doolan added.
“The Australian public speak very clearly and very loudly when that fine line is crossed.”
According to Fairfax media, Carrspace – the agency who developed the concept for Woolworths – went into hiding on Tuesday night, deleting its Twitter account and removing pages from its website that publicised its relationship with the supermarket brand.