As Anzac Day – 25 April – approaches, so too does the veritable flurry of #LestWeForget social media posts from brands and businesses around the country. This can be a social media minefield, so let’s break this down and start with understanding what Anzac Day is and why it should be approached with sensitivity.
What is Anzac Day?
Anzac Day is commemorated annually on 25 April, and it marks the anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand forces (ANZACs) landing on Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War.
In the years since, it has been seen as a day to commemorate the sacrifices of all Australians during service. So the date is an significant one for Australians as a day of national remembrance.
Why should I be careful about posting Anzac Day posts on social media?
Anzac Day is a day of remembrance, not a commercial opportunity. Unfortunately national supermarket retailer Woolworths made this mistake back in 2015 with their ‘Fresh in our Memories’ campaign.
The campaign used a picture generator allowed people to upload their own images of people lost to war. The generator would then overlay the Woolworths branding, and the ‘Fresh in our Memories’ tagline. This quickly turned into a joke with users:
— fluoride addict #h20 (@wellbased) April 14, 2015
While the supermarket giant insists that the campaign wasn’t an attempt to make commercial gain out of Anzac Day, the overwhelming backlash indicated that the general public didn’t agree.
To avoid a Woolworths-style blunder, think carefully about what you might post on social media this Anzac Day.
Protection of Word “Anzac” Act 1920
There is even legislation in place to protect the word ‘Anzac’:
Specifically, the legislation covers the:
“….use of the word “Anzac” or any word resembling the word “Anzac” in connection with any trade, business, calling or profession or in connection with any entertainment or any lottery or art union or as the name or part of the name of a private residence, boat, vehicle, charitable or other institution, or any building in connection…”
Should I post on Anzac Day on social media at all?
Having spoken with ex-servicemen and women personally, their belief is that unless there is genuine sentiment and support for those that have served in the post, then it should be avoided altogether.
We’re not saying that you should NEVER post on this particular day. But if you’re going to resort to posting an image of poppies, or tacking on a ‘Lest We Forget’ to your regular post for the day, it may be time to re-think your social media strategy a little.
Instead, try to add some genuine sentiment behind your post.
How can I acknowledge Anzac Day on social media while still being respectful?
Simple – be respectful, authentic, and put your brand second.
Here are some suggestions of how that may look in practice:
- If you have a staff member (or a member of their immediate family) with service history, can they speak to their experience and what Anzac Day means to them?
- If you`re a local business, can you post information for the local community to direct them to the dawn services or the march in your area?
- Consider donating as a business to a service that supports veterans such as Soldier On or the Veterans & Veteran’s Families Counselling Service, or even Lifeline, and sharing a donation link with your followers so that they can do the same.
- Are you a business whose opening hours are relevant on this day? For example, you might be a cafe open early for breakfast for people to grab a meal before attending the Anzac Day march, or you’re an attraction or family activity that would regularly be open but is shut to mark the day.
At the end of the day, do not look at Anzac Day as a branding, marketing or selling opportunity for your business, but instead one to show respect.
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