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Hedley Malloch

Poppy - National symbol of remembrance or corporate brand?

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   The BBC  News website has an interesting feature on all this commercialisation.  (With Thanks and acknowledgements to BBC News)


Has the core message of the Poppy Appeal been diluted?

_82085681_pic.pngBy Anisa SubedarBBC Trending
A picture of the Cookie Monster character on the One Show, wearing a poppy

Has the core meaning of the Poppy Appeal - the annual charity drive in remembrance of those killed in conflict which supports The Royal British Legion - been diluted by crass uses and commercialisation? The person behind a viral Twitter account cataloguing extreme poppy examples thinks this might be the case.

His Twitter bio describes himself as a "Self-Appointed Poppy Enforcer" and he's racked up more than 10,000 followers. @GiantPoppyWatch posts outlandish and often giant-sized uses of the poppy, giving them mocking "ratings" out of 10.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


This is OK but to be honest, could be better. Why not dye the green red to look like a Poppy®? (Would be easier to aim for too).



The person behind the "Poppy Watch" account says his mission is to "highlight the absurdity and obscenity of what's happened to Remembrance Day."

"You've got town councils around the country covering buildings in poppies, hanging them from lampposts, sticking life-size 'Poppy Mannequins' onto park benches like they're waiting for the Chelsea Flower Show judges to come round and give them a score. So I started giving them scores," he tells BBC Trending.


But far from being against the Poppy Appeal, the person behind the account - who asked to remain anonymous because of his job - says he feels that its ultimate and profound meaning has been lost.

"Poppy Watch tries to gently remind people that each of these poppies stands for someone who died alone, terrified, in agony, far from home, often for no good reason," he says. "It used to be a case of sticking a few pence into a tin for a paper poppy which you stuck in your lapel, and then you had to nurse it through the week as it got all tattered, grubby and dog-eared. It was fragile, and everyone's was the same - maybe that was the point."

The account owner also swipes at what he sees as the commodification and branding uses of the poppy.

"You've got businesses doing it for marketing... shops putting on spectacular window displays like it's Christmas. Bridal shops with absolutely fabulous poppy dresses on show," he says.

View image on Twitter

The most popular tweet from the account has been a picture of the character Cookie Monster from the children's television show Sesame Street appearing on BBC's The One Show in 2016 - wearing a poppy of course.

Skip Twitter post 4 by @giantpoppywatch
View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
"Now there's a lynch mob of tabloid journalists and Twitter enforcers ready to pounce on any infraction, such as appearing on TV without a poppy on," he says. "So now everyone who arrives at the TV studio gets handed a poppy to clip on their lapel like it's a microphone. What's the point of that? It's meaningless."

 BBC Editorial Guidelines specify that poppies "may be worn on screen" for the two weeks prior to Remembrance Sunday.

"Poppy Watch" says he's had lots of positive feedback to the account but gets annoyed when people don't understand the point of it.

"I hate it when someone doesn't realise it's a parody. I feel that's either a failure on my part or maybe a sign of how crazy 'poppy season' is. I also hate it when someone sends in a sneaky shot of some old person wearing a normal poppy," he says.

"I have been very careful to avoid mocking little old ladies or guys who've got poppy tattoos for the mates they lost in Afghanistan. That's not the point of it. Those people are doing something sincere. Poppy Watch is a showcase of the insincere."

The classic two-petal poppy is a registered trademark of The Royal British Legion, which warns that it may take action against people or organisations which use it without consent.

A spokesperson told Trending: "Individuals, communities and local business choose to show their support for the Poppy Appeal in a variety of ways and the Legion is grateful to shops, pubs and other commercial enterprises which allow poppies to be distributed and collections to be taken on their private property or inside their trading premises."

The charity advises: "There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual chooses to wear a poppy and also how they choose to wear it."

Blog by Anisa Subedar

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Short interlude


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Stoppage Drill

I put poppies on my dogs' collars at this time of year.


Where do I stand in the Bad Person Stakes ?

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Steven Broomfield

My dogs (well, two of them: Cooper ate his. Git) have the reflective poppy things on their harnesses all year round. Being reflective they are a very useful safety item. Cooper, on the other hand, has that degree of safety God bestows on the terminally stupid.

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This sculpture ('Standing Man' by Sean Henry) has, over recent months, in connection with an exhibition at the local Lightbox gallery, been a feature of Woking's Jubilee Square.



More recently, somebody has decided that he should wear an appropriately placed poppy.



Although not a sentient  being, this does - at least to me - seem right as 'he' overlooks the town's war memorial, and  'Standing Man', a well as bearing witness to more mundane day to day activities in the square, would have been present at  two remembrance ceremonies over this weekend.


Then there's what to do with lost poppies found: came across this one recently (in situ I hasten to add, not placed by me for the picture). Dare I title it  'The Last Post'...




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On 11/11/2017 at 18:35, QGE said:

Apparently burning poppies is illegal

No, it isn't.


It is the context in which this one was burned that brought the illegality.

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Ah well, all over for another year then............


But next year.........


Centenary of the Armistice and all that...............


You can expect it to be................




To the OP who suggested "poppy vulgarity" - I'm afraid................


You ain't seen nothin' yet


Bob Geldof may bring an album out



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steve fuller

I find this whole topic tricky.


On the one hand, part of me thinks it's good that the whole subject (WW1, remembrance, etc.) has risen to the surface, which was obviously going to happen with the centenary. Ultimately, its about 'the boys', remembering them, telling their stories and paying them the respect they're due


The other hand finds it all a bit crap if I'm being honest. Too many people with less than pure motives suddenly interested (financial, egotistical, etc.), a growing trend to be seen to be saying and doing 'the right thing' as opposed to doing it because you want to remember someone, The Last Post has almost become a 'show' in recent years rather than something driven by genuine motives ... and all the other nonsense but I'm boring myself now.


Someone even 'questioned' me not displaying a poppy in the week, which didn't go down well, the outcome being that offence was taken on their part by the time I'd finished. 


Not sure what to make of it all really

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