Royal Cana­dian Le­gion re­leases dig­i­tal ver­sion of the Re­mem­brance Day poppy

Sherbrooke Record - - REMEMBRANCE DAY -

The Re­mem­brance Day poppy has en­tered the dig­i­tal age.

The Royal Cana­dian Le­gion launched a dig­i­tal ver­sion of the dis­tinc­tive red flower Fri­day, which it says can be cus­tom­ized, shared on­line and used as a pro­file im­age on sites in­clud­ing Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Linkedin.

The down­load­able im­age looks like a sil­ver coin with a red poppy at the cen­tre. The words “Re­mem­brance Day 2018'' run along the top edge, while the bot­tom edge can be cus­tom­ized to dis­play the name of a vet­eran or some­one in ser­vice. Oth­er­wise, the words “We Re­mem­ber'' will ap­pear.

The Royal Cana­dian Le­gion's deputy di­rec­tor says he hopes it will ap­peal to younger gen­er­a­tions ac­cus­tomed to com­mu­ni­cat­ing on so­cial me­dia.

“It's the way they com­mu­ni­cate to their friends and to groups of in­di­vid­u­als and it's the same as phys­i­cally wear­ing a poppy and say­ing, 'I sup­port vet­er­ans,''' says Danny Martin.

He also ex­pects a down­load­able poppy would ad­dress our “in­creas­ingly cash­less so­ci­ety,'' guess­ing that a grow­ing re­liance on debit and credit pur­chases mean shop­pers often have less cash to do­nate when faced with a re­quest.

In the same way there are strict rules around how a lapel poppy should be worn (over the heart, with the orig­i­nal pin), there are lim­its to how the dig­i­tal poppy should be used.

Martin says they're not meant to be al­tered, and although they can sup­plant a pro­file im­age on a so­cial me­dia ac­count, they're not meant to be com­bined with other images.

The dan­ger that the poppy can be coopted and dis­torted is why the le­gion is fiercely op­posed to cre­at­ing a poppy emoji, he adds, de­spite the pop­u­lar­ity of minia­ture images in mes­sages and email.

“It's a free-for-all. Peo­ple can take that emoji and uti­lize it for other pur­poses, which hap­pens all the time in dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments or dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies,'' he ex­plains.

“You send that thing out in the com­mon do­main, then we've lost con­trol and we ac­tu­ally, legally, (would be) los­ing con­trol of the poppy trade­mark.''

Still, he ad­mits there's “no doubt'' some­one could ma­nip­u­late the dig­i­tal poppy that's be­ing re­leased now

“Yes, there's go­ing to be cases where they're go­ing to abuse the sym­bol or try and use it for their own cause and we'll have to deal with that as we go along.''

Pop­pies are meant to be dis­played from the last Fri­day of Oc­to­ber un­til mid­night, Nov. 11.

Be­yond that date, an ac­com­pa­ny­ing link to the on­line poppy will ex­pire, although the im­age will re­main on sites they've been posted to or drives to which they've been down­loaded, says Martin.

The dig­i­tal pop­pies are avail­able for an on­line dona­tion at­

un­til Nov. 11 and are meant to com­ple­ment the tra­di­tional lapel poppy, typ­i­cally avail­able at cafe and con­ve­nience store cash reg­is­ters along­side a dona­tion box.

Martin says the le­gion is also sell­ing a but­ter­fly clasp that for the first time is al­lowed for use with the lapel poppy to bet­ter se­cure it in place.

Pub­lic­ity ma­te­rial for the dig­i­tal poppy fea­tured en­dorse­ments by celebrity Cana­di­ans in­clud­ing Mar­garet At­wood, Ash­ley Calling­bull and Don Cherry, who ded­i­cated his poppy to his great un­cle, Sgt. Thomas William Macken­zie. He died in bat­tle four days be­fore Ar­mistice Day in 1918.

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