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VB scraps Droga5’s ANZAC Day ‘Raise a Glass’ fundraising campaign after seven years

After seven years, and a controversial start, Carlton United Breweries has scrapped the ANZAC “Raise a Glass” fundraising campaign first created by Droga5, Mumbrella can reveal.

Raise a Glass

VB has abandoned the controversial ‘Raise a Glass’ campaign after seven years.

Raise a Glass had become an annual benchmark charity initiative for the brand, backed by TV commercials and on-pack promotions, raising funds for Legacy and the RSL.

CUB has quietly dropped its support for the initiative, instead opting for annual donations to the charities, with a spokesperson for CUB saying there are no  further plans to target ANZAC Day using the VB brand.

“We value the partnership we’ve had with the RSL and Legacy since 2009 but will no longer continue the Raise A Glass appeal in its current form,” the CUB spokesperson told Mumbrella.

Raise a Glass raised more than $7m for Legacy and the RSL since it was first introduced.

“We’re proud to have raised awareness for veteran welfare over seven years and to have donated $7m to the RSL and Legacy. While we have made a decision not to continue the partnership in its current form, we have committed to direct donations for the next two years, with no ‘above the line’ campaign,” the CUB spokesperson said.

Raise a Glass was conceived by Droga5 shortly after the Australian agency launched with VB as its foundation client and the first ad featured an Australian digger on a beach, Victoria Cross winner Keith Payne, reminiscing about a fallen mate.

The ad showed him sitting next to an empty beach chair, with a VB nestled in the sand.

VB and Droga anchored the campaign in the line: “Wherever you are, whatever you’re drinking, raise a glass for our fallen mates.”

The campaign featured a further five ads, including one starring former Australian Defence Force Chief Peter Cosgrove.

Despite having the support of both the RSL and Legacy, the campaign quickly courted controversy with the brand accused of breaching federal legislation protecting the name ANZAC from commercial exploitation.

It also angered some ANZAC supporters with donations tied to sales as VB donated $1 from the sale of each case of beer, as well as the proceeds from 1500 kegs delivered to pubs around the country.

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In 2010 a website was created to encourage current and ex-servicemen and their families to post stories about the Australian experience in war over the last century.

However, CUB stood resolutely behind the campaign.

“We know some people were critical of appeal and of the connection to CUB, but we always felt our biggest test was whether the RSL and Legacy felt the partnership, and the material produced, was the right for them and the people they represent,” a spokesperson said.

The fundraising model was subsequently changed to CUB making a direct donation to Legacy and the RSL with the advertising and on pack promotions aimed at raising awareness and driving further donations from the community.

VB did not run a TV campaign every year, but last year’s campaign, by Clemenger BBDO, featured hundreds of people whistling the wartime standard “It’s a long way to Tipperary”.

Over the period of the 2015 campaign the film was seen by 3.6m Australians, was shared by more than 12,000 Facebook users and received almost 3,000 comments. Some 55% of the video views came from males aged 18-34.

Over the entire seven years of the campaign it is estimated the Raise a Glass message has been heard or seen more than 19m times.

The campaign went through a number of evolutions including in 2012 when the campaign turned its focus to Legacy, with a wartime widow remembering life with her partner who died in Afghanistan.

Simon Canning

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