The ANZAC spirit – Should brands be capitalising commercially?

The Larrikin ANZAC beer by Mornington Peninsula Brewery

Should Australian and New Zealand brands be capitalising on the use of the iconic ANZAC spirit and ANZAC Day occasion to be promoting their brands?

A quick history lesson for those of you reading from overseas: “ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. Observed on 25 April each year, ANZAC Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the Great War (1914–1918).”* 

Back to the story – I know that the use of ANZAC for commercial purposes is not a new debate, however the other day I walked into Bondi Beach Cellars and spotted The Larrikin ANZAC Biscuit Beer by Mornington Peninsula Brewery sitting in the fridge.

Immediately I was torn, subscribers of my weekly Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! entrepreneurship podcast and readers of the blog will know my passion for the ANZACs from my trip to Gallipoli, my family connection and diving into the history of what it means to me.

My immediate gut-instinct reaction, is to me it just feels a little cheap and wrong, to be attaching this Australian icon to a product, brand or campaign, without a lot of forethought and perhaps also creating a mechanic, whereby a proportion of revenue or profits from sales generated are redistributed back to charitable organisations such as the ANZAC Appeal. Even then I’m still not sure how comfortable I feel about it. I’ve also since discovered that brands and organisations also require permission from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs to use the word ‘Anzac’ in a commercial context.

Now for context, I’m not across whether Mornington Peninsula Brewery have permission to use the ANZAC brand for commercial use, their intent, what this brew means to them and I also love that they’re educating people as to what ANZAC Day is. In fact, Mornington Peninsula Brewery are one of my favourite breweries in Australia, I love their beers very much and what they do for the Australian craft beer scene, which is no doubt exactly why this debate his risen in me right now.

As a massive craft beer fan and supporter of the Australian scene through my @craftbeerlovin’ Instagram account, I clearly bought the beer, I can attest to how delicious and sessionable it is and I’d also love to chat with Mornington Peninsula Brewery team at some point to get their perspective on the subject. I might even record it as part of a craft beer episode on the podcast.

In short, in this current digital age, where there is so much hate and vitriol online at the push of a button, without thought given to measured debate and listening to both sides of an argument, I’ve written this article as I’d love to spark discussion on this subject and hear what you, my friends, peers and colleagues have to say on the matter too.

As mentioned, I’m not entirely sure how comfortable how I feel about brands capitalising on the ANZAC Day brand and spirit, no matter who they are, as it is a date that holds a lot of history, connection and emotion for many Australian and New Zealanders.

So I ask you. Regardless of intent. How do you feel about brands capitalising on the ANZAC Day brand and spirit? Should they do it? And if so, how should they go about it?

By Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet!).
Digital Media Strategist & Content Producer.
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The Larrikin ANZAC beer by Mornington Peninsula Brewery
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