Branding Anzac Day: Ostraya and the art of cringe
So the Federal Government is planning to create some kind of Anzac Day brand or motif for the 2015 centenary of the Australian landing at Gallipoli. What a frightful thought.
A cartoon wombat called “Digger”, perhaps, or two M&M-like mascots coined “Heads” and “Tails”?
Here’s a goodie: how about a paunchy Aussie bloke with a broad Ostrayan twang and a stubby of VB (actually, make that Coopers now that Foster’s has gone offshore), urging us to celebrate Anzac Day with the catchcry “Just Dig It” or “Anzie, Anzie, Anzie, Oi Oi Oi”?
According to The Advertiser, federal bureaucrats have already spent more than $100,000 on focus groups to work out how to brand the day.
Veterans’ groups are outraged, while Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett says the marketing exercise was “an abject waste of money”.
But surely it was cash well spent if the feedback received was to leave the centenary the hell alone.
When it comes to mastering the art of cringe, Australia has form. Who could forget the video centrepiece of Australia’s failed bid for the World Cup, with its red kangaroo thieving a trophy from FIFA headquarters and being pursued around Oz by Paul Hogan?
How we snared even one vote after that woeful effort is beyond me.
To the credit of RSL groups who have kept the tradition alive – and actually to the wider Australian community in general – Anzac Day remains neither overly hyped nor artificially sentimental.
Yet, almost a century on, it now takes its place as arguably the most revered day on our annual calendar.
It’s certainly considered by many of us to be more sacred in its pure form than Christmas and Easter, which we’ve allowed to be hijacked to such an extent that the Easter Bunny this week popped up in the shops. (Be honest. Did you spare a single thought for Jesus Christ on Christmas Day?)
Look, the government is no doubt well meaning in its bid to properly commemorate the centenary of Anzac Day. Apparently, the idea for “a national brand or motif” emerged from an Anzac Centenary Advisory Board back in October.
But in this crazy world of rampant consumerism, superficial spin and mass apathy, Anzac Day has already attained the kind of status that no amount of money can buy.
It’s the one day of the year when our senior servicemen and women are treated with a semblance of respect as community ‘elders’.
We know what it stands for. We know why it’s important to keep the tradition alive.
If there’s another $100,000 in federal coffers for the project, how about interviewing diggers and creating a DVD to be shown in every school across the country?
But don’t tamper with the Anzac Day brand. We already dig it, just the way it is.
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