Last updated: 
17 June 2019

The ‘Anzac spirit’ is a powerful notion, a potent image and an entrenched belief that continues to characterise commemorations to this day.

During the war, many business owners recognised the power of the Anzac spirit and exploited it for commercial purposes. Even with the introduction of legislation which prohibited use of the word 'Anzac', businesses appropriated the idea of the Anzac soldier to create a sense that their products and brand somehow possessed the same qualities as these men.1

The power of the term 'Anzac' was recognised not long after the commencement of the World War I Gallipoli campaign.

In one of the first articles to present the notion of the 'Anzac spirit', British war correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett proclaimed the Australians 'rose to the occasion' at Gallipoli's shores.2 It had been 11 days since the troops landed at Anzac Cove and it was the first report to be published for Australian readers at home.

In another article, the 'special correspondent' noted Australian troops 'had behaved with that splendid courage, that splendid fearlessness' and had 'faced death with a cheer'.3

Official war historian Charles W Bean wrote extensively about the Gallipoli campaign and later of how Anzac represented 'reckless valour in a good cause…enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat'.4

Prime Minister William M Hughes spoke to Australian troops a year after the Anzac Cove landing, saying the day signalled 'the imagination of a new era' and prophetically announced 'Whatever may happen in the future Anzac Day will remain one of the greatest in Australian history, and on every anniversary will be told the story of a blood baptism'.5

In addition to messages about the Anzac character and bravery at Gallipoli, there was also a sense that this very idea was beyond all materiality, that it would somehow come under threat and need to be protected. In his speech, Hughes stated: 'Into a world saturated by material things…which has made wealth the standard of greatness, comes the sweet purifying breath of self-sacrifice'.6 One article described the very word as a 'national heirloom…more precious than gold'.7

On 18 May 1916 the Government passed a new statutory rule under the War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations 1916 which prohibited the use of the word 'Anzac' 'in connection with any trade, business, calling, or profession'.8


Caption: Statutory rule no. 97, War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations 1916 < >

Many other words including 'Returned Soldier', 'Aussie', 'Our Wounded Soldiers', 'Repatriation', 'AIF', and 'Australian Imperial Force' and many other words were prohibited under the regulation.9


Caption: Wrigley's spearmint trade mark, 26 July 1912, no. 13408. IP Australia

But just as the Prime Minister and his Cabinet perceived the importance of the concept of Anzac, business owners also recognised the commercial potential of such a commonly held perception of Australian servicemen. Wrigley's had trade marked its spearmint logo in July 1912.10 The company claimed the product was a 'great comfort to the soldiers in the trenches in Europe' and called for Australian readers to 'send some to your soldier boy!'.11

Before the regulation was introduced, jeweller David Stewart Dawson advertised '"The Anzac" Luminous Dial Wristlet' and '"Anzac" Lever', a specially crafted watch 'for the man on active service', both of which were sold out of his store in Sydney's Strand Arcade.12

In June 1916, despite the recent introduction of the regulation, another Sydney advertisement included the 'Anzac Lever' in addition to an 'unbreakable' 'Trench Mirror' and 'money belt' for soldiers on the front.13 However, the watch disappeared from newspaper advertisements from the end of July 1916, likely because it contravened the new regulation.14


Caption: Advertisement for 'The 'ANZAC' Lever', 24 November 1915, Sydney Mail, p. 33. Trove Australia.

New Zealander chemist, G W Hean, used a range of methods to advertise cough mixtures and nerve tonics in his Sydney shop during the war. One 1916 notice included a jingle-like testimonial from one of Australia's most famous poets, Henry Lawson: 'Have some Horse Sense, Take Hean's Essence - It'll Rid Yer of that Corf, That's a Cert'.15 On 22 July 1913 Hean's trade marked its cough and cold remedy, Hean's Essence, and began to use testimonials from serving members of Australia's defence forces to promote their products from 1916.16 Master Sergeant P H Boag claimed he used the product and advises all his 'comrades who catch cold to use Hean's Essence without delay'.17

Another advertisement stated an 'epidemic of heavy colds' was plaguing 'our gallant soldiers' and that Hean's Essence was even warding off 'attacks of the dreaded pneumonia'.18 'A mother of soldiers' Theresa Clune from Waverley said her sons Privates Francis and Jack Clune were 'cured of heavy colds, contracted on their voyages from Gallipoli and America'.19 The advert further asserted 'thousands of Australian mothers' were sending bottles of Hean's Essence to 'their soldier sons'.


Caption: Hean's Essence trade mark, no. 15329, registered 22 July 1913, IP Australia.

On 5 October 1916 Hean's registered another trade mark for Hean's Essence - 'Heenzo'.20 Private Harley Cohen, member of the 'Gallipoli Strollers' musical group comprising servicemen injured at Gallipoli ', wrote a poem:

…to part with all this Heenzo
Would have hurt a "digger" hard. 
I'd have said, "This stuff is dinkum -
"Of it I've used a blinkin' lot…"
I'll make no bones about it,
But tell yer frank and free,

An 'original Anzac' and chronic asthma sufferer, Lieutenant Angus McAskill wrote that his illness plagued him at the front and after he was invalided home, he 'found nothing to equal Heenzo' and considered it his 'most faithful friend'.22 Twenty-two-year-old theatre actor and private in the 19th Battalion, William Paul Clare, noted he used Heenzo 'for an over-worked throat while employed in open-air theatrical work' and also during his service under 'the greater contract'.23


Caption: Heenzo trade mark, no. 20657, registered 5 October 1916, IP Australia.

Hean's later began including more elaborate recommendations including photographs of real-life AIF servicemen, turning them into informal 'poster boys'. There was an underlying message that Hean's was contributing in its own way to the war effort. Indeed one of their notices dramatically declared the 'effects of a bad cold are almost as much to be feared as the shot and shell of the enemy'.24 So with the often deadly spread of diseases including the common cold and influenza being a daily part of life in the trenches, Heenzo cough remedy was saving lives.


Caption: Heenzo advertisement, 24 November 1917, Weekly Times, p. 14. Trove Australia.


Caption: Trade mark number 6721 (registered 1908) and 19778 (registered 1916), IP Australia.

Hean's was not the only business to use real-life 'diggers' to promote its products. Rexona trade marked its 'Rapid Healer' in 1946, however, the ointment started appearing in advertisements as early as 1909.25Advertisements claimed 'Our Soldiers want Rexona - The Rapid Healer' and asked readers, 'Why don't you send a Tin to the Front.26 Private Stanley Roy Simpson stated he had seen enough 'sores and wounds' 'to last me a lifetime, and I know what I am talking about…I can recommend Rexona Ointment heartily'.27 These endorsements added a layer of credibility, as they did not just originate from a trustworthy source but also from the harshest of conditions.

A group of AIF soldiers claimed they were 'in the trenches in France…putting barbed out' and requested 'a few samples' be sent.28 One Lieutenant-Corporal Brookes adds with a certain Anzac flair, 'All Australians prove themselves when put to the test. So does Rexona' and that after being 'blown up' by a mine at Gallipoli he used Rapid Healer on his shrapnel wounds.29

In other advertisements, an artist drawing of 'battle-scarred Anzac' Bert Lyon of the 1st Battalion appears along with his appraisal which starts with: 'It is with great pleasure that I sit in my dug-out to write to you a few lines in praise of your wonderful Ointment, Rexona'.30 He also writes that the conditions in the trenches often lead to 'chilblains' 'but Rexona banishes these'.


Caption: Advertisement for Rexona with a testimonial from 'Trooper Bert Lyon', 16 November 1918, The Advertiser, p. 13. Trove, National Library of Australia.


Caption: Leslie Cecil Maygar, VC. Australian War Memorial, P01285.001

In this sea of soldier testimonials, none appear published in print more frequently than that of 'the crusader hero from Euroa district', Lieutenant-Colonel Leslie Cecil Maygar.31 Maygar was awarded the highest military award for valour, a Victoria Cross, in 1901 for rescuing a fellow Australian whose horse had been shot.32 Described as a man with a 'quiet, unassuming disposition', Magyar was 'an "Anzac" of whom Australia may be proud'.33 So with a testimonial from 'a soldier who did not know the meaning of fear', Rexona had a persuasive case to put forward for its product.34 Maygar's testimonial was published in newspapers as early as August 1916, and under the heading 'A Gallant Anzac Endorses Rexona', he had 'the pleasure in certifying that I have used Rexona whilst on active service in Gallipoli and Egypt, and have found it excellent for the skin, especially in the trenches'.35 This use of the word 'Anzac' came to the attention of the Attorney General's Department which objected to an ad in the Sydney Morning Herald in October 1917.36

The Crown Solicitor deemed that the advertisement was referring to an actual soldier of ANZAC and not the idea of Anzac, so no further action was taken.37 Maygar died of wounds received from a German aeroplane bombing in Palestine on 1 November 1917.38 It is unclear whether there were any further objections as the advertisement continued to be published, even up to two years after his death.39 In any case, the roundabout use of the word 'Anzac' and an endorsement from one of Australia's most prominent senior officers was a clever strategy from Rexona. As historian Jo Hawkins concludes, the inclusion of a decorated soldier meant 'the product was truly fit for heroes'.40

The many trade marks registered and advertisements published during World War I shows that the products on offer were integral to the war effort and that the brand behind them was equally as trustworthy.

As they were endorsed by the likes of the country's most reliable individuals, the brave men of Anzac, businesses were able to influence this for commercial gain. In the business of product testimonials, who could be more credible and sincere than those men who were facing the most trying of circumstances? As with the early recognition and subsequent legal protection of this unshakeable idea of Anzac, it is clear brands like Wrigley's, Hean's and Rexona recognised the power of this source of approval for their consumers.

Discover more about IP rights during WWI


  1. See Jo Hawkins, ‘Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, pp. 7-26.
  2. ‘Australians at Dardanelles: Thrilling Deeds of Heroism’, 8 May 1915, The Argus, p. 19, <>
  3. ‘Battle of Gabe Tepe’, 23 June 1915, The Age, p. 13 <>.
  4. Charles W Bean, Anzac to Amiens, (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1983), p. 181.
  5. ‘Australia’s Great Day’, 25 April 1917, The Advertiser, p. 7 <>.
  6. ‘Australia’s Great Day’, 25 April 1917, The Advertiser, p. 7 <>.
  7. ‘Day By Day’, Daily Telegraph, 29 May 1916, quoted in Jo Hawkins, ‘Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, p. 8 and p. 14.
  8. Statutory rule no. 97, War Precautions (Supplementary) Regulations1916, 18 May 1916, ComLaw, accessed 26 March 2015 <>.
  9. ‘’ANZAC' - a national heirloom’, Gallipoli and the Anzacs, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Board of Studies NSW, 2010, accessed 25 March 2015 <>. See also ‘Our Wounded Soldiers Not to be Used as Trade Mark’, 9 February 1917, The Telegraph, p. 2 and ‘Prohibited Trade Mark’ 15 July 1919, Western Argus, p. 21 <>.
  10. Trade mark no. 13408, 26 July 1912, IP Australia via ATMOSS <>.
  11. ‘Advertising’, 17 May 1916, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 8 <>.
  12. ‘Advertising’, 22 September 1915, Sydney Mail, p. 32 <> and ‘Advertising’, 24 November 1915, Sydney Mail, p. 33 <>.
  13. ‘Advertising’, 1 June 1916, The Catholic Press, p. 23 <>.
  14. ‘Advertising’, 20 July 1916, The Catholic Press, p. 39, <>.
  15. ‘Advertising’, 9 November 1916, Punch, p. 31 <>.
  16. Trade mark no. 15329, 22 July 1913, IP Australia via ATMOSS <>.
  17. ‘Golds among our soldiers’, 24 June 1916, The Mirror of Australia, p. 4 <>.
  18. ‘Coughs & Colds among our soldiers’, 1 April 1916, Cowra Free Press, p. 2 <>.
  19. ‘Advertising’, 22 July 1916, Arrow, p. 3 <>.
  20. Trade mark no. 20657, 5 October 1916, IP Australia via ATMOSS <>.
  21. ‘Display Advertising’, 23 July 1918, The Argus, p. 6 <>. See also ‘The Gallipoli Strollers’, 13 July 1917, Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser, p. 7 <>.
  22. ‘Advertising’, 20 November 1918, Sydney Mail, p. 31 <>.
  23. ‘Advertising’, 24 November 1917, Weekly Times, p. 14 <>.
  24. ‘Colds among our soldiers’, 23 August 1916, Sydney Sportsman, p. 6 <>.
  25. Trade mark no. 85927, 31 January 1946, IP Australia via ATMOSS <>.
  26. ‘Advertising’, 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 <> ; ‘Advertising’, 11 July 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 4 <>.
  27. ‘Advertising’, 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 <>.
  28. ‘Advertising’, 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 <>.
  29. Advertising’, 4 February 1918, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 3 <>.
  30. ‘Advertising’, 16 November 1918, The Advertiser, p. 13 <> ; ‘Advertising’, 3 January 3 1917, The Register, p. 9 <> ; ’Advertising’, 29 July 1918, The Advertiser, p. 6 <>.
  31. ‘The late Lieut-Col Leslie C Maygar, VC’, 15 November 1917, Shepparton Advertiser, p. 3 <>.
  32. Elyne Mitchell, 'Maygar, Leslie Cecil (1868–1917)', 1986, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 31 March 2015 <>.
  33. ‘The late Lieut-Col Leslie C Maygar, VC’, 15 November 1917, Shepparton Advertiser, p. 3 <>.
  34. ‘The late Lieut-Col Leslie C Maygar, VC’, 15 November 1917, Shepparton Advertiser, p. 3 <>.
  35. ‘Display Advertising’, 25 August 1916, The Argus, p. 8 <>.
  36. ‘Advertising’, 27 October 1917, The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 20 <>.
  37. Item 29/3484, Part 17, A432/86, National Archives of Australia via ‘‘ANZAC' - a national heirloom’,Gallipoli and the Anzacs, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Board of Studies NSW, 2010, accessed 25 March 2015 <>.
  38. Mal Booth, ‘Records of the death of Maygar VC’, 11 October 2006, Australian War Memorial blog, no longer online. See also National Archives of Australia: B2455, MAYGAR LESLIE CECIL.
  39. ‘Advertising’, 4 November 1919, Mornington Standard, p. 4 <> ; ‘Advertising’, 2 January 1919, Daily Herald, p. 4 <>.
  40. Jo Hawkins, ‘Anzac for Sale: Consumer Culture, Regulation and the Shaping of a Legend 1915–21’,Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, p. 23.