Veterans minister attacks Woolworths and warns brands against ‘trivialising’ Anzac Day

woolworths fresh in our memory meme generatorThe Minister for Veterans’ Affairs has not ruled out a $50,000 fine for Woolworths for its ‘Fresh in our memories’ marketing push as he warned brands against trivialising the word Anzac and using it for commercial gain.

Senator Michael Ronaldson said he rang Woolworths at 7pm last night after learning of the campaign and demanded the supermarket pull down the website and end the promotional activity.

The campaign has been derided on social media with Woolworths accused of exploiting Gallipoli and Anzac Day for commercial gain, allowing people to generate memes with the words ‘Lest we forget’ and the Woolworths logo underneath.

In a statement, the minister said permission to use the word Anzac in any marketing form must be granted by the Government under the 1920 Protection of the Word Anzac Act.

“In this instance, permission was not sought by the campaign proponents, nor would it have been approved,” minister Ronaldson said. “Immediately upon having this campaign brought to my attention I contacted Woolworths and asked them to end it.

“The Australian community quite rightly expects that the word ‘Anzac’ is not trivialised or used inappropriately and as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs I am responsible for ensuring that any use of the world ‘Anzac’ does not provide commercial benefit to an organisation.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Ronaldson warned firms they could face fines of up to $50,000 for flouting the regulations and said he would consider taking further action against Woolworths.

“Had the site been up in the morning there would have been no doubt about that,” he is quoted as saying. “The fact they pulled it down immediately ameliorates the situation to some extent.”

The statement raises questions over whether Woolworths voluntarily took down the website and withdrew the campaign or if its hand was forced by the minister.

Woolworths declined to comment beyond its statement last night in which the supermarket said it “regretted” its Anzac campaign had caused offence.

Steve Jones

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