Woolworths pulls Anzac campaign after backlash
AN online campaign led by Woolworths has caused outrage among customers, who accused the supermarket giant for cashing in on Anzac Day.
"Fresh in our Memories" invited Australian consumers to create a profile picture and cover photo for their Facebook page, in memory of past and present service men and women, complete with the Woolworths logo.
However the supermarket has since been forced to pull its campaign after consumers branded it as "disrespectful" and "disgusting" while others flooded social media with their own versions of the Woolworths generated images.
The campaign was launched just last week in the lead up to the centenary marking the landing at Gallipoli.
Before the "Fresh in our Memories" website was taken down on Tuesday night, it had generators for Facebook profile pictures and cover photos.
These images included the Woolworths logo along with the text: "Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015. Fresh in our memories".
"You could also use an image of yourself as a mark of respect to our service men and women. Once the generator is complete, please change to your profile picture image to fully complete the process," Woolworths explained on the campaign website.
"Download your profile picture, and then share it for others to see!"
But it appears the supermarket, a partner of both the Returned and Services League (RSL) and Camp Gallipoli, has had a rather adverse effect on its customers as many took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their anger.
One customer, who was clearly appalled by the campaign, threatened to boycott the store.
"Hey Woolworths, my family did not fight and die in the wars for you to hijack the ANZAC tradition with that tasteless promo. Take it down now please or my moneys going elsewhere," he wrote on the Woolworth Facebook page.
The supermarket has been inundated with similar comments on social media.
"Your latest ANZAC campaign is absolutely disgusting," another consumer wrote.
"Trying to use the memory of our diggers for advertising is reprehensible! Pull the campaign and apologise!"
Others also posted memes of the Woolworths campaign, with images of Australian political figures including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, John Howard and Jacqui Lambie.
A spokeswoman for Woolworths told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday night that "Fresh in our Memories" is not a marketing strategy.
"It is a website designed in consultation with the RSL for people to share their photos, stories and memories," she said.
"As one of Australia's largest employers, Woolworths has spent months collecting stories from our staff for the site. All profits from the sale of merchandise on the site goes to the RSL.
"We are proud to support the RSL and our diggers. Like all Australians, we pay our respects to service people past and present.
"Our small logo on the site is in line with other corporately sponsored Centenary of ANZAC activity."
The spokeswoman then later confirmed the website had been taken down.
"The site was developed to give our staff and customers a place to put their stories to mark the Centenary of ANZAC," she said.
"We regret that our branding on the picture generator has caused offense, this was clearly never our intention. Like many heritage Australian companies, we were marking our respect for ANZAC and our veterans.
"We continue to be proud supporters of the RSL and Camp Gallipoli in this important year and look forward to working with them into the future."