A hundred years after the WWI landings at Gallipoli, New Zealanders can remember New Zealand’s collective WWI ANZAC force. But it’s not as easy to remember the individual soldiers, sailors, medics and nurses who gave their lives.
With the passing of time, and with no New Zealand WWI Anzacs still living, there was little available means for the NZ public to connect with or remember these individuals – beyond looking for names inscribed on war memorial walls.
The risk of these individual NZ Anzacs simply being forgotten was very real. For the Returned Services Association (RSA), whose work of remembrance is one of its key functions, this represented a growing problem that challenged its ability to continue its work of remembrance.
With the help of its long-time supporter ANZ, the RSA was able to front the formation of a social movement dedicated to helping Kiwis remember these individual Anzacs. The ShadowBattalion recruited Kiwis to its website where they could search for and select a named, individual WWI Anzac – and then share it to their social networks.
Boldly forgoing the traditional red poppies and sepia-toned imagery so prevalent for Anzac commemorations, the ShadowBattalion also single-handedly contemporised the act of remembrance, and introduced a new generation of New Zealanders to a new way of remembering those who fought for our country in WWI.
Also, by developing a bespoke, automated image-generation system that created a one-off digital presence for every Anzac remembered, the ShadowBattalion overcame the significant challenge of creating an emotional connection between a WWI Anzac (whose only physical manifestation was a name on a memorial wall) and a time-poor, distracted 21st century Kiwi.
While some initial recruitment came via ANZ’s customer base (eDMs, in-branch activity and banners on its website) and paid digital media, the majority of ShadowBattalion members were recruited via social channels.
Against a targeted social media reach of 1million, the campaign achieved social media reach of 2.4million.
57% of traffic to the ShadowBattalion site was driven by social media. Of that, 92% of social traffic was from purely organic sharing.