WHAT: “Rethink Remembrance,” this year’s edition of the annual veterans’ remembrance campaign in the U.K., asks people to reconsider who it is they think the charity helps.
WHO: The Royal British Legion, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
WHY WE CARE: Remembrance Sunday, or “Poppy Day” as it is often referred to in the U.K. (and the wider Commonwealth), is the day the country honors its veterans. There is a two-minute national silence, held at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, marking the end of the First World War. On the nearest Sunday (which falls on November 13 this year), services and remembrance events are held at which wreathes of poppies are laid.
For the Royal British Legion, Remembrance Sunday is the somber culmination of its annual “Poppy Appeal” fundraising drive. The charity is often seen as a provider of welfare and support for veterans of the First and Second World Wars. This common assumption may have been emphasized by recent anniversaries, such as that of the Battle of the Somme, and by the U.K. supermarket Sainsbury’s blockbuster ad for Christmas 2014, made in partnership with the Legion, recreating the famous “Christmas Truce” during WWI on its centenary.
This year, however, the charity is seeking to change that perception and highlight the fact that there is a new generation of veterans who need support. Two powerful online films show WWII veterans sharing moving stories, which we assume are their own until it is revealed they are the testimonies of modern-day veterans. In addition, a series of press and outdoor ads features veterans who were in active service very recently. The intention is to ask the public to rethink where their support is going, and to recognize sacrifices made not just by the armed forces of the past, but by today’s service personnel, too.