'We all care about Anzac Day. More than ever. Which is why I found this ad so insulting.'


Last night, I was happily relaxing on the couch when this happened:

And, after recovering from a sudden and dramatic spike in blood pressure, I discovered this:

That’s right. Anzac Day is no longer brought to you by the servicemen and women who fought and died for this country. It’s brought to you by beer.

I’m sorry – what?

Is this what we’re okay with now? A former General of the Australian Defence Forces appearing in beer commercials and lecturing us about the dawn service? Telling us that it’s our duty to “raise a glass” of Victoria Bitter (VB)?  That he’ll even call you to get you out of bed (“There’s no excuse! Register Now!”)?

You know what VB? As the very proud daughter of a man who served in Vietnam, the great niece of an 18 year old boy who was killed in France, and a friend of active servicemen and women I’ve got a few ideas of what you can do with your glass of beer.

It’s not that I think we shouldn’t honour the people who fought, and continue to fight, for this country – we absolutely should. And I understand that Legacy need to raise money and I’ll continue to support them.

I just object to a beer company insinuating that we don’t care about remembering the people that we loved and lost unless we drink their beer, sign up to their phone calls and obey their orders to turn up to a dawn service.

Don’t believe that we care enough VB? Well, maybe this will convince you:

Last year at the Anzac Day parade in Canberra, a guy in the crowd walked up to war veterans and started to hand out envelopes. Inside each was a thank you note and a lottery scratch card. He didn’t give them his name, he didn’t make a fuss and he certainly didn’t hand them a VB. He just said thanks and moved on through the ranks to pass out more envelopes.

“By taking a moment to think about my 18 year old Great-Uncle.”

Was Mr. Cosgrove on the phone to him that morning to “get him out of bed rain, hail or shine”? Did VB sponsor him? No?

Didn’t think so.

Maybe that guy didn’t turn up to a dawn service that morning. Maybe he didn’t “raise a glass” as instructed. But he showed those men and women that he cared and that to me is so much more important than crowd numbers or product placement.

The fact is more and more people turn up to dawn services every year. Numbers continue to grow. We all care. More than ever. Which I guess is why I found this ad so insulting. None of us need a lecture on “excuses” because no one is making any.

So VB, please spare us your advertising. Forget the phone call. I’ll honour my Dad by trying to do the little things that actually matter. By calling him to tell him that I love him and that I’m proud of him. By appreciating my friends, remembering how many people lost theirs. By saying thanks to a digger on the tram. By taking a moment to think about my 18 year old Great-Uncle, who never came home from France.

And yes, by raising a glass. Of whiskey.

Bea is a marine biologist turned part-time writer who started The Google Year blog after suffering a minor case of heartbreak. It’s one girl’s mission to find adventure, happiness, love and the perfect wardrobe in what Google defines as one year: 365.242 days. What could possibly go wrong? You can also find her on Facebook here and Twitter here.

What do you think of the “Raise a Glass” campaign? Awful? Or important? How do you spend Anzac Day?

If you’d like to donate to Legacy please visit their website here.