An Australian Government plan to market a huge national commemoration of the centenary of the World War I Gallipoli landings has crashed against national sensitivity about Anzac Day.

While both official recommendations and public submissions to the federal Anzac Centenary Advisory Board have emphasised the need for dignity, planners have turned to professional marketers for a way to "brand" the commemoration.

The decision to spend more than A$100,000 ($131,000) on focus groups to test potential slogans and promotions has angered prominent Australians and veterans, who believe the day speaks for itself.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett told Melbourne's Herald Sun the idea of branding Anzac Day was ridiculous and "an abject waste of money".


"Anzac Day has come to mean so much that increasing numbers of young people are participating in dawn services and other commemorative services around Anzac Day," he said.

"It is a political intervention which should be snuffed out immediately, not just because it's a waste of money but because Anzac Day ... [is] profoundly celebrated and commemorated."

Anzac Day, first observed on April 25, 1916, has become increasingly popular since the 1980s, with hundreds of thousands of people - including many in their teens and 20s - turning out for dawn parades.

Thousands also travel to Turkey every year for services at Gallipoli.

The acronym has been protected under federal law since 1921, and politicians and community leaders frequently invoke the "Anzac spirit" as a shorthand for national values.

Two years ago the Government set up a national commission led jointly by former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and his Labor successor Bob Hawke to seek public views on how to mark the centenary.

After getting more than 600 submissions, the panel recommended a four-year programme beginning in 2014 to cover all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved.

This included a large travelling roadshow to take Anzac exhibitions around the continent, a huge programme to refurbish memorials, cenotaphs, honour rolls and avenues of honour, and the creation of an Anzac centre for the study of peace, conflict and war.

The commission also wanted to re-stage the first major convoy carrying Australian and New Zealand troops from Albany, on the southern tip of Western Australia.

Further submissions to the advisory board - which will also discuss plans with New Zealand officials - ran from parades, sports days, re-enactments and special medals to an opera and scholarships.

But the idea of "branding" the centenary goes one step too far for some critics.

Ray Brown, of the Injured Service Persons Association, told the Herald Sun the approach was inappropriate, and World War II POW Frank Holland-Stabback said Anzac Day was already well-enough known.

A Veterans' Affairs Department spokeswoman said it was not unusual to undertake focus testing for a project of the centenary's scale and importance, and that concepts were tested to ensure they were acceptable to Australians.

New Zealand RSA national president Don McIver said he did not know the details of the Australian report but supported any progress with centenary plans.

He said Australia and New Zealand were working on preparations for the Gallipoli anniversary but Australia's plans were more advanced.

The RSA had been asked to join steering groups set up by the New Zealand Government to discuss how to mark such wartime anniversaries.