Since 2005 when I first began trotting out articles, first over at Beer Blokes blog and, more recently, here at Brews News, I have penned something around ANZAC Day and the ANZAC tradition.
I have always had a deep and genuine respect for those who have served their country in war and in peace time and, as an avid student of history, have had an interest in military traditions and culture. Each year seems to throw up a new debate around the commemorative aspect of our nation’s most revered day* and this year is no exception.
For the past five years, CUB has run its ‘Raise a Glass’ promotion whereby every marked carton of VB sold around ANZAC Day contributes $1 to programs run by the RSL and Legacy. To date, over $6.1million has been raised. The basic premise of the campaign which, by marketing standards has been hugely successful**, centres around the call for people to ‘raise a glass’ in memory of those who fought and did not return. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Debate about the validity of the campaign generally surrounds the following issues;
- CUB only ‘donates’ money gained by sales of their product
- ‘Raising a glass’ merely celebrates drinking, not forgotten mates
- The campaign ignores the fact that the product itself causes harm, particularly to returned servicemen who may have alcohol dependency issues
- The campaign suggests that ANZAC Day is about selling beer not commemoration
- CUB can well afford to donate the money without promoting their brand
- Campaigns like this commercialise ANZAC Day
- ANZAC Day and drinking should not be linked
I’m not going to shoot down any or all of these arguments here, except to clarify that the actual ‘raising of a glass’ to fallen mates comes from the tradition of setting a glass at the empty seat at a table in tribute to the fallen, rather than necessarily implying that large quantities of beer must be downed lest we disrespect their memory.
The campaign, through spokesperson retired General Peter Cosgrove says; “Wherever you are, whatever you’re drinking, raise a glass to those who serve”. Matt and I have discussed this issue in detail on Radio Brews News (remember that!?) but I would like to hear what Brews News readers think. Forget for a minute that the beer in question is a mainstream macro-lager and give us your thoughts on this issue.
I’ve said my bit over the years – over to you.
To help you in your deliberations, I offer the following resources;
*I use the term ‘most revered’ simply to denote that ANZAC Day is the one day on the calendar, along with Australia Day, that is both non-religious, universally observed and recognised on the same day in every state.
**I don’t know much about ‘message penetration’ and ‘share-of-mind’ or whatever companies use to determine a campaign’s ‘worth’ so I will quote Andrew Hughes, Lecturer Research School of management; ”The campaign itself was well executed, and this was reflected in the figures: over 186 pieces of coverage across different media which translated into over 40 million opportunities to see and hear the message. This alone would have been worth millions of dollars in exposure, so from most angles the campaign was a success. Most.”