This past weekend marked 100 years since the Anzac forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. As a result, ceremonies and events were run up and down the country resulting in exhibition openings, parades and the building of a gigantic poppy. To put the scale of the event in context, the New Zealand Government alone is estimated to have spent around $42 million on centenary commemorations—and this only paints part of the picture given that promotional spending by brands is difficult to tally. And while most of the activations were in good taste here and across the ditch, the event once again served as a reminder of the fine line between commemoration and commercialisation of a tragic day in history.
Here's a short rundown of how brands and other organisations commemorated the day:
Wellington’s Te Papa museum opened its exhibition on the 18th of April called Gallipoli: The scale of our war, which is free of charge to visitors. The exhibition was co-created by Te Papa and Weta to take visitors back to Gallipoli to “experience the triumphs and countless tragedies of this eight-month campaign through the eyes and words of the ordinary New Zealanders who were there.” The museum had extended hours over the ANZAC weekend, staying open until 9pm.
New World, Pak ’n Save and Foodstuffs support and distribution centre staff wore red poppies until yesterday, according to a release. Pak ’n Save’s Stickman was also “…supporting the Poppy Appeal wearing a red poppy during this period”.
For the 100-year commemoration, Hamilton renamed one of its streets in remembrance, changing Bridge St to Anzac Parade, an idea Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker came up with, telling Stuff: "I've always thought it was unusual Hamilton didn't have a road with Anzac in it. The 100-year commemoration of Gallipoli was the perfect opportunity for the city to do something like this."
Bell Tea took the opportunity to remind consumers that its brand was one of the few to have been present during the Great War, often serving as an essential inclusion in the care parcels sent by loved ones to soldiers.
Let us tell you the 100 year old story of the Bell tea tin.Posted by Bell Tea on Tuesday, 21 April 2015
In addition, the brand has also recreated 50,000 of its special one-pound tea tins as a 100-year throwback.
“This tin carries with it a rich story and heritage – it was a vehicle to send loved ones hope, messages from home and reminders that while they might have been far, far away, they were cherished and loved," said Bell Tea chief executive Mark Hamilton in a release. "The tin holds a special place in history and we are proud that our tins facilitated these connections a hundred years ago. In today’s world, where loved ones are spread all across the world for work, travels, adventures and more, staying connected is so important. We would love to see the tins being used, once again, to connect loved ones around the world because even after 100 years, the key message this tin carries hasn’t changed, it’s still all about connection and care.”
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the Gallipoli 2015 NZ Facebook page has seen a 50 percent increase in new page ‘likes’ and the official page for New Zealand’s First World War centenary has seen a 62.7 percent increase in likes (at the time of writing it had 3,398 likes).
The team at DDB continued to play on the relationship between the past and present by using its outdoor activation of a WWI trench scene for a new TVC.
100 years on we honour those who went to the Great War. Unforgotten Soldiers – an Anzac Tribute.Posted by SKY TV on Friday, 24 April 2015
The New Zealand Defence Force also updated its cover photo with an image of poppies, and this has since been updated again to show the silhouette of a soldier.
The Royal New Zealand Navy took their 35,000 fans behind the scenes, creating a photo album of the HMAS Wellington joining FNS Vendemiaire for a formation entry in to Wellington harbour for the Anzac Day commemorations on Saturday.
Prime minister John Key also shared images of his experiences at official commemorations in advance of Anzac Day on both Facebook and Instagram.
A field of poppies was placed at Wellington's Botanic Gardens to represent those who died in WWI. According to Stuff, “the 866 crosses represent each Wellingtonian who died fighting in World War I in 1915."
Peter Jackson’s collection of vintage vehicles featured at Wellington’s Anzac street parade organised by Chris Gifford, a props and vehicle restoration expert. The military vehicles included a London bus, Howitzer cannons and a tank, all of which were manned by extras in military regalia.
Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington was built as the Government’s key project to acknowledge the Centenary of the First World War. It was opened in time to be the centrepiece of Anzac Day commemorations in 2015.
Auckland artist Tony McNeight embarked on the massive undertaking of creating the world’s largest poppy, which consisted of 59,000 red metal discs with contributors’ names and messages placed by him and members of the public on Auckland’s Domain in support of the RSA.
People from all over the world donated online and a metal disc was placed for them, many others came down to the Domain to donate and place their own disc between the 16 and 24 April when it was slowly built to be finished in time for Anzac Day.
Here's a timelapse video of poppy being built:
Countdown partnered up with the RSA to commemorate the centenary by allowing customers to make a donation to the RSA at the checkout. Customers could also buy Anzac commemorative pins and Anzac biscuits in store. Or, if they wanted to leave something a little more personal, customers could also pick up a free poppy sticker at checkout and place a message on a designated poster located in stores.
(Image credit: Stuff)
Although the Countdown campaign went well on this side of the ditch, the same cannot be said for the efforts of Australia-based Woolworths, which came under fire for trying to cash in on Anzac Day via its 'Fresh in our memories' campaign.
The campaign required customers to create a profile picture and cover photo for their Facebook pages with the Woolworths tagline in bid to commemorate the servicemen and women who were lost in the war.
The only problem was that campaign wasn't seen as sincere by the public, and online outrage ensued. Soon after the launch, memes, complaints and general annoyance poured in, leading Woolworths to eventually backtrack and pull the campaign. And in much the same way that some American brands erred in commemorating the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Woolworths' effort undoubtedly went down as a major faux pas.