Woolworths forced to remove Anzac Campaign Ads


After bombarded with a flux of criticism from the angry members of the public, supermarket giant Woolworths has decided to pull back its online Anzac campaign. Woolworths has been accused of using the Anzac day as a commercial opportunity. This is not the first time that a high street giant has tried to capitalize on a festival or a famous day, however it is clearly one of the very few times that public criticism has forced a company to step back.

The controversy rose when Woolworths launched a poster depicting the slogan ‘Fresh in Our Memories’ over the picture of a soldier who fought in the First World War. There is undoubtedly a huge respect in Australia and New Zealand regarding the Anzac. 25th April 2015 was celebrated as the centenary of the famous Gallipoli landing. The Landing took place on April 25, 1915, and is famously known as Anzac day. In the past, serious efforts were made to make sure that any misuse of the world ‘Anzac’ is prevented. Anzac day is considered the most important military commemoration day in New Zealand and Australia, the BBC News reports.

Along with the publication of the controversial images, Woolworths had encouraged the visitors of its website to replace their social media profile pictures with the images of present and past servicemen and servicewomen. The image contained Woolworth’s logo, a picture of Anzac soldiers and said ‘ Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015. Fresh in Our Memories’.

Soon after the images started surfacing the web, scores of disgruntled members of the public started commenting about the ad on Woolworths’ website and on various social media outlets. Almost everyone was upset with Woolworth’s attempts to use the Anzac soldiers for the publicity. The comments made by people said that, the image is an insult to the soldiers who sacrificed for the nation and disgrace to the people of Australia and New Zealand.

Woolworth’s reply to such a quick and unexpected criticism from the people was one of an apology. Officials at Woolworths explained that they had no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings about the war, and that the company was only trying to contribute to the memories and sacrifices of the Anzac soldiers. To the surprise of many independent observers, Woolworths decided to take off their campaign ad in a ‘respectful gesture’ to its consumers. However market experts were surprised to the whole matter, suggesting that this is not unusual for supermarket giants to use public festivals for their promotions.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE