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Woolworths Remove ANZAC Day Campaign after Social Media Backlash

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It can be difficult to find ways to keep up with advertising trends in the internet age, just ask Woolworths (the Australian grocery chain, rather than the British retail one). They’re currently enjoying more publicity than they’ve had in quite some time, although ‘enjoying’ might not be the right word, as this is the kind of attention that really puts the adage ‘any publicity is good publicity’ to the test. ANZAC day is a huge deal in Australia and New Zealand, just as Remembrance Day is in the UK and Veteran's Day is in the US. As such, numerous companies roll out ad campaigns each year to use the commemorative day to draw attention to themselves (in an ostensibly respectful way).


British readers might recall the Sainsbury’s Remembrance Day ad campaign which was trotted out at the end of the year, it was praised by some for its high production value, but derided by many others for basically using the First World War to sell groceries. Woolworths’ is far easier to criticise, for many more reasons than just corporate cynicism. Drawing from their current slogan, ‘The Fresh Food People’, the store chain launched a Twitter campaign under the #Freshinourmemories hashtag which encouraged users to upload images of the WWI ANZAC campaign and/or veterans into their image generator. They would come out the other side with ‘ANZAC 1915 – Lest We Forget’ daubed across them. Big mistake.


You would think that even when a user-generated-content campaign is as easy to abuse as this one, the subject matter would keep people from doing anything too tasteless. You should never underestimate the tastelessness of trolls. Almost from the get-go, searching the hashtag resulted in a slew of deliberately irrelevant, often fairly unpleasant images cropping up. Elsewhere, particularly on their Facebook page, many users decided to take Woolworths to task about their use of wartime imagery in a marketing campaign, despite their claims that it was just about raising awareness. Difficult to accept, considering that when photos come out of the generator, they also get pasted with the company logo.


Suffice to say, they’ve taken it all down now and scurried away, tail twixt legs. Unfortunately you can’t discontinue hashtags and the Twitter community have continued picking at the ill-fated campaign’s rotting carcass in all the usual ways. There’s even an angry Hitler re-edit, because of course there is (watch below, but beware the swears). 



Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Woolworths Remove ANZAC Day Campaign after Social Media Backlash Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 Rating: 5

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