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Poppy a marketing tool

Published: 6:14PM Monday November 06, 2006 Source: One News

One of the best-known symbols of war will soon be used by New Zealand businesses for marketing.

The Returned Services Association has announced companies who are part of its poppy partnership scheme will be able to use the iconic poppy symbol for advertising.

The red poppy is known internationally as the symbol of remembrance.

And until now, the RSA has relied solely on profits from the annual poppy day to stay afloat.

But at its annual general meeting, it revealed plans to make money from the poppy image.

Called the poppy partnership scheme, businesses will be able to use the poppy image in their marketing. In return they will give the RSA money towards members' welfare funds, and discounts off services.

"We'll guard the poppy very, very jealously and any financial benefit we get out of this will be used for special projects," says John Campbell of the RSA.

The Public Trust is the first to take up the offer. But it will not say how much it is spending or how it will use the iconic symbol.

Pat Waite of the Public Trust says the details of the scheme have not been worked out yet.

"We're still working through with the RSA executive, but our sense would be we'd like to be able to use a poppy on our information. It could be on our letterhead, it could be on our brochures going out."

But not just any company will be able to use the poppy. They will have to be well established and provide health or welfare services to members. Gambling, smoking and alcohol companies will not be eligible.

The RSA says the move is a harsh reality of modern times, but it needs to be able to support its members.

"We're certainly not selling our soul, far from it. And it's important of course. Similar schemes also exist in Britain and Canada and they don't believe they're selling their souls either," says Campbell.

The RSA says at least five other companies plan to use the poppy. Once confined to the week around Anzac Day, the symbol of remembrance is set to be seen all year round.