Fosters Australia is connecting the VB brand with the celebration of Anzac Day this year with “Raise A Glass“, an integrated advertising campaign with a touch of controversy. Victoria Bitter beer is featured in the commercials and interactive site telling the story of people who have died in service. Critics are concerned about the correlation between patriotic respect of veterans and encouragement of binge drinking.
Six mini documentaries show men and women telling the stories of fallen heroes over two glasses of beer, one for the storyteller and one for the departed. Droga5 Sydney have the six videos, an introduction and an omnibus version online at their YouTube channel, without embedding function. Click on the names here to view the videos. General Peter Cosgrove introduces the series. Bill reflects on his time in the navy in World War II. Frank talks about being an inexperienced medic in Vietnam, alongside Danny. Rachael talks about her partner who died in a Sea King helicopter crash in Aceh, 2005. Betty talks about her husband who served in Vietnam. Keith Payne reflects on his fallen mate Jack. Omnibus brings together Betty, Bill, Frank, Rachael and Keith.
VB has been donating one dollar from every case of beer sold during April and gave 1500 kegs of beer to clubs for use on Anzac Day. The campaign aimed to raise one million dollars for RSL and Legacy welfare programs, a goal already exceeded with $1.1 million.
The Anzac Day campaign was developed at Droga5, Sydney, by executive creative director/copywriter David Nobay, art directors Cam Blackley and Matty Burton, agency producer Paul Johnston.
Post production was done at Tide, Melbourne, by Jon Holmes.
Editor was Jack Hutchings at The Butchery.
Music is by Paul Ruske at Final Sound, Melbourne, with sound designers Paul Shannon and Craig Conway.
Julian Lee at the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Raise a Glass campaign was not supported by the RSL in Queensland, due to their concerns about promotion of alcohol.
The state president, Doug Formby, said 13 RSL districts covering Queensland voted unanimously not to support the campaign. “We don’t think it appropriate for the RSL badge and image to be associated with the promotion of alcohol. We are dealing with many hundreds of veterans who are affected by beer – directly, or as a result of consuming alcohol – because of service-related problems,” Mr Formby said.
The RSL’s national president, Bill Crews, defended the three-year deal. It was not pushing alcohol but prompting people to switch to VB “for a good cause”.
He said the partnership with VB was the subject of intense discussion with state branches. “On balance, beer is part of Australia’s culture and [has been] part of the services for many years, and this particular brand has been directly associated [with the services] for 64 years. We are simply reinforcing that association.”