Frucor brand Maximus Australia is facing a growing public outrage over their new outdoor campaign. The posters, rolled out on Australia day to three outdoor locations, feature the words “I Survived Australia Day” with a picture of their energy drink. Critics are claiming that the banner that was put up to advertise Maximus sports drink on Wednesday trivialises “the suffering of Australia’s First Peoples” for appropriating the term Survival Day.
For context, one of the alternate names for January 26 is ‘Survival Day’; Indigenous media outlet NITV used the term throughout their coverage. The term emphasises that “despite colonisation, discrimination and comprehensive inequalities, we continue to practise our traditions, look after the land and make our voices heard in the public sphere. We survive.”
“For NITV as a channel, ‘Survival Day’ acknowledges the mixed nature of January 26. It recognises the invasion and our history, but invasion doesn’t frame us as a people. We are still here, our languages are still spoken and our cultures are strong,” NITV Channel Manager Tanya Denning-Orman explains.
Survival Day protests were held around the country as Indigenous Australians worked to draw attention to the impact that white settlement has had on their communities.
Maximus Australia’s Facebook page has since been inundated with Aussies posting messages slamming the brand for its blatant insensitivity to Indigenous Australians. The campaign has been called “The Worst Australia Day Advertising Campaign Imaginable”.
This is not the first time that the brand has come under fire for “pushing the marketing envelope,” having previously capitalised on disgraced footballer Todd Carney’s social media picture of him urinating into his own mouth.
“We regret using these words in our campaign and we apologise. The signs have been removed from the three sampling locations and we won’t be using them again. The signs were part of a wider campaign that aimed to promote hydration after Australia Day, but on reflection we acknowledge that using these words was a mistake. One again we apologise for causing offence.”
They later issued a statement that identical to the Facebook reply, word-for-word.
There has been no further comment or apology from Fucor.