15 Apr 2015

Woolworths pulls Anzac site

1:40 pm on 15 April 2015

Australian companies are being warned they face fines of up to $A50,000 if they exploit the word Anzac for advertising purposes.

Supermarket giant Woolworths has ended an Anzac Day campaign that sparked outrage over the company's logo and the phrase "Fresh in our Memories" being placed on images of former soldiers.

The campaign, which the supermarket chain insisted was not a marketing move, drew strong criticisms on social media and sparked memes that hijacked the concept.

Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs Michael Ronaldson hit out at the company and asked them to take it down as soon as he saw it.

Senator Ronaldson said the campaign was inappropriate and trivialised the use of the word Anzac.

Companies wanting to use the word in Australia must get approval from the Veteran Affairs Department.

"It was not appropriate, they did not have permission and, under the Protection of Word Anzac Act, I've got to authorise the use of the word Anzac and I did not provide it for those who are looking for purely commercial benefit," Senator Ronaldson told 702 ABC Sydney.

Mr Ronaldson said there are potential penalties for unauthorised use of the word Anzac, which can be $A10,000 for an individual, $A50,000 for a corporate or 12 months' imprisonment.

"Even in 1920 when this Act was put in place, the legislators of the day were determined to protect the word and put in what are very significant penalties," he said.

Late yesterday the company took down its Fresh in Our Memories website.

"We regret that our branding on the picture generator has caused offense, this was clearly never our intention," Woolworths said in a statement.

The company said it was marking its respect for Anzac and veterans and would "continue to be proud supporters of the RSL and Camp Gallipoli in this important year".

The campaign had allowed people to upload their own images of people affected or lost to war to a picture generator.

The generator then created an image that is emblazoned with the words "Lest we forget, Anzac 1915-2015".

At the bottom of the image the generator inserted the phrase "Fresh in our Memories" and a Woolworths logo.

Woolworths promotes itself as the "Fresh Food People" and the word "fresh" is heavily promoted by the supermarket chain.

The supermarket giant had hoped people would use the generator to create images that could have been used in social media profile pictures.

"We encourage you to share a memory of someone you know who has been affected or lost to war, by changing your profile picture on social media to that person," Woolworths said on the website that was later taken down.

But the move sparked a strong response on social media.

"This marketing campaign is crass," said one of many tweets attacking the move.

Another likened the supermarket chain to "monsters".