Australian supermarket chain Woolworths tried to associate itself with ANZAC day, the national memorial day for those who served and died for the nation in past wars. Woolworths has long used ‘fresh’ in its branding, most notably pitching themselves as ‘the fresh food people’. Arguably it was rather tacky to then use the copy ‘Fresh in our Memories’ to connect with war memorialisation as many consumers have a strong impression of the ‘fresh’ logo appearing in the meat and ‘fruit and vege’ sections of their stores. The real campaign disaster arose though as Woolworths encouraged people to use a profile photo generator with pictures of people affected by past wars and then to share the images with a particular hashtag. Little did they imagine that people would play with it, and soon create a new parodying meme. Here are two examples and a link to the article from which they are drawn. A campaign original first… A rather blunt response.. The article in the Sydney Morning Herald
The issue has evolved into a political one as the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs criticised the campaign and said that use of ‘ANZAC’, part of the national lexicon, is actually governed by the minister and that it is an offence to use it without permission. This will be a surprise to many Australians. A good update on the issues. If anybody happens to be interested in the obscure legal elements of protecting the ANZAC name see Protection of Word “Anzac” Act 1920 and here for some general background on the ‘Anzac tradition‘ and the wikipedia page on the subject, with the criticisms section of particular interest too.
The simple lesson is again, like we saw with the Qantas campaign using twitter on Qantas luxury in the last class, is that audiences will make their own use of social media campaigns, and the results can soon go far from what naive PR staff in firms might imagine.