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© Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial

Commemorating and Contemporising

our History

The Australian War Memorial remembers and honours all past, present, and future service personnel whose sacrifice and duty protects Australia’s security, freedoms, and prosperity.   

The Australian War Memorial’s “For We Are Young and Free” campaign was established to raise awareness of the brand and engage with younger audiences through social media.  The aim was to encourage citizens to reflect on the stories of those who fought for Australia in the First World War, focusing not only on their service but more importantly who they were as people. 

With the passing of the centenary of the ANZAC’s first landing in Gallipoli and the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Australian War Memorial (AWM) has enjoyed a peak in interest towards various projects. The new exhibitions have modernised the AWM experience to attract and engage younger generations, as well as regenerate interest in those who have visited in the past. 


However there was concern that after the 100-year anniversary, there could be a drop in interest in this history given a declining population of service personnel, new conflicts, and the passing of time resulting in a disconnect between historical events and the modern day. 

AWM2018.4.233.45, Photgrapher-Adam Kropi

© Australian War Memorial, Photographer Adam Kropinski-Myers. Reference: AWM2018.4.233.45

Recognising the need for change and modernisation, the AWM created a comprehensive, three phase strategy. Phase two of the campaign was launched in December 2017. The main goal of this phase was to establish a connection and engage with audiences using purely digital platforms. A secondary goal is to increase awareness of the AWM as a brand and help share the many functions it plays in upholding our military history. 


The programs key objectives were to: 

  • Increase engagement with the AWM by the Australian public and build a greater understanding of the role it plays. 

  • Achieve 40% penetration among target audience with a 30 second promotional video on television and the internet.  

  • Reach 15% of target audience with the social media campaign period and budget.  


The AWM, with the help of other independent agencies, created an active online social media presence.  The entire team is passionate about the project and the stories that need to be told. This is one of the many reasons the campaign has resonated so well with audiences, because of its composure, respectfulness and handling of delicate material.  

In addition to the digital content and social media posts, the AWM created advertisement banners to be placed across buses, the Canberra Airport, in-flight magazines, and television advertisements. They also published a series of paid and unpaid posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

AWM2018.4.236.20, Photographer- Fiona Si

The Eternal Flame in the Pool of Reflection. © Australian War Memorial, Photographer Fiona Silsby. Reference: AWM2018.4.236.20

This campaign is meant for everyone, it is a new method of sharing and engaging that embraces people of all ethnicities, cultures and religions. It is about upholding the memory of those who fought and died; from this the core message of “For we are young and free” is born.  This is about the story of our freedom, of understanding that it was not free but bought with blood. 


There were many tactics utilised in support of the campaign. These tactics were designed to increase community engagement and focus on changing the way people understood the role of the AWM.  Achieving all this was not without its challenges. As a fully functioning tourist destination and museum open seven days a week, the logistical challenges of filming promotional content in the museum was large.  To overcome this, the team had to work very quickly and effectively within the time constraints to get the video right; eventually creating an extremely powerful and engaging promotional video. 

The campaign was very successful in reaching its target audiences. This was measured through increased public engagement with the social media content, especially among the 18-45-year-old target group. This is a very good sign for things to come, with the launch of phase three soon to follow.  

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