Commercial interests hijack Anzac Day commemorations

ANZAC Day service at the National War Memorial   Photo: Flickr NZ Defence Force

ANZAC Day service at the National War Memorial
Photo: Flickr NZ Defence Force


It’s been almost a century since the Anzacs landed on Turkish soil and with the Anzac Centenary forecast to set Australian taxpayers back $140 million, Anzac Day has become increasingly commercialised.

From large cruise ships anchoring on the shores of Anzac Cove to stone masonry companies marketing to veterans on how to sell their stories, businesses are monetising the Anzac ‘spirit’ like never before.

anzac dayThe Australian government has funded Camp Gallipoli, an event that offers people the opportunity to camp out under the stars, just like the Anzacs did in 1915.

NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet Senior Communications Manager Alison Fraser says: “Romanticising the war in this way makes people cringe but I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste.”

Indeed, former Australian Defence Force officer and author of Anzacs Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession, James Brown, has claimed that Anzac Day is being “bottled, stamped and sold”.

Most recently, Woolworth’s ‘Fresh in our Memories’campaign has been condemned for being “ill advised”for using the phrase ‘Fresh in our Memories’ that aligned with the organisation’s branding. Without permission to use the word ‘Anzac’, the company has been criticised for exploiting Anzac Day for commercial interest.

While it is significant to raise awareness of the centenary of the Great War, what was once a poignant thread of our national identity has now become an enterprise where both the public and private sectors secure commercial outcomes.

But Anzac Day Commemoration Committee Chief Executive Officer Hedley Lockyer says: “I am violently opposed to commercialisation. But then again, if a degree of commercialisation is what it takes to keep the Anzac spirit alive, then I support it wholeheartedly.”

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