The ANZAC marketing machine 13



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It is 100 years of ANZAC Day this year and the crank is well and truly in the marketing machine. We’ve seen it coming at us from TV, with the Gallipoli series (which was rather unimpressive), to the festivals being promoted endlessly such as ANZAC Sleepout being waved at us all, hoping to commercialise the momentous event. There’s been events popping up in the media everywhere and commemorative things to buy to celebrate with, tied tenuously to the milestone. But are we doing this important moment in our national history the tasteful justice it deserves? I would debate we aren’t looking at the emotional significance to our nation of such an important event and that we should, bypassing the marketing rubbish we are seeing.

Out of all patriotic moments as a nation ANZAC Day has got to be our most moving in history, yet I worry that we are letting ourselves down by letting this event be anything but the authentic, non-commercial celebration of men in battle, fighting for freedom. When it becomes tickets to a rock-concert style bash, complete with branded swags and t-shirts to me it loses everything special is offering people.

Several of my friends have been lucky enough to win tickets in the ballot to the actual 100 year celebration in Turkey. Their immense appreciation for the event they are going to be able to participate in is palpable, and to me is what ANZAC is all about. Sure, they’ll spend an innocuous amount getting there to experience it… but it will be a once in a lifetime experience. Will lining the pockets of the ANZAC Sleepout co-ordinators feel as good when drunk 20-somethings jump over each other to the tune of anthemic Australian rock tunes blaring in the background?

I personally could think of little worse. Give me a beautiful, moving ANZAC service with as many of our veterans marching the streets as possible. Let the kids of veterans march in a “descendents” march, behind those who have fought – in respect for our forebears making this a tradition that can be carried on for centuries to come, without war, and let the multigenerational respect for wartime be properly felt. But please don’t turn ANZAC Day into a sickly over-commercialised moment that insults the incredible significance of the day, 100 years on.


What do you think? Tell us your thoughts below.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I absolutely agree with the writer. The day does seem to have been taken over by commercial interests…it seems to cheapen the remembrance aspect of it,when it should be a day of great respect. Is this just us…do the British commemorate Remembrance Day in a similar fashion?

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  2. I really hope these extra activities are only for this year being the 100th year since our ANZAC’s tradition was born.
    I have always tried to attend a Dawn Service–or one of the marches somewhere.
    It IS a day to remember ALL the military personnel who have served and are serving for their country.
    I am one of the fortunate people who will be attending the services at Gallipoli–and to me—it is a honour–LEST WE FORGET

  3. My Dad was at Gallipoli. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. I am sure he is not turning in his grave BUT rolling uncontrollably at all the HYPE for these money making, so called marketing machines. So many lost their lives in WW1. Please let them R.I.P.

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  4. Sadly it has become a brand, especially here in Albany WA where the comatose local economy, having long ago killed off its manufacturing base, clutches to Anzac like a lifebuoy in the ocean.

  5. Rebecca.These very thoughts often cross my mind as I witness the commercialisation of the Anzac spirit. It saddens me when I remember my Grandfather and wonder what he would have thought of all this. I think he would humbled by the fact that we still remember but would frown upon all the hype. He never spoke of his time serving in Egypt and France during the dark years of WW1 preferring instead to forget the horror. He marched on Anzac Day with me at his side; his service medals heavy on my chest.” War is no good.” he would say. ” I hope you never have to go to war but if you do then stand straight and tall and be a man. Many men will fall and not come home. I was lucky. I am still here to remember my mates.”

  6. I honour and revere the men and women of ANZAC and those who have joined them in more recent wars. Going to an arena event, will not make us any no closer to experiencing the suffering of Anzac Cove. Where are the profits going? If they are going to Soldier on, Mates for Mates I guess they will do some good. I checked some years back about some of the commemorative tours and found some were being held miles from the actual scene and were very expensive – benefitting the tour operators only.

  7. The current hype around ANZAC Day is taking away from the respect from all the armed services and nurses. Thank you for this article.

  8. anything that lets the younger generation in on the Anzac spirit is a good thing,I don’t care how it’s done,yes 4 generations of my family were in the Australian forces including me with 25 years

  9. I agree, there has been a lot of hype about this sacred day of late. I think the key here is tasteful. If an event is tastefully done, and some of the profits go to the RSL, Legacy etc. I don’t see much wrong with it. Crass commercialism is a definite no-no. I had great uncles who served and a couple died in WW1, so ANZAC Day means a lot to me and our family. My father and 4 brothers served overseas in WW2.

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