The Department of Veterans Affairs says Zoo Weekly did not seek permission to use the word “ANZAC” for a “commemorative issue” of the men’s magazine. The April edition of Zoo Weekly features a bikini-clad model holding a poppy and promises “100 Things every Aussie should know about Gallipoli”.

Veterans Affairs said in a statement to Crikey that the department had called and emailed Zoo to request that the advertising be removed, but VA has yet to receive a response. Use of the word “ANZAC” is protected by regulations in place since 1921, and penalties for misusing the word include imprisonment and fines up to $51,000 for companies. A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs said “the Department will continue to pursue this matter until the issue is resolved”.

Zoo, which is owned by Bauer Media, does not use the word “Anzac” on the front, instead using the words “commemorative edition” to suggest a relationship to the centenary. But in the advertising for the edition uploaded to Facebook, it is referred to as the “Special Anzac Centenary Issue”.

When the front page was uploaded to Zoo Weekly’s Facebook page, it was met with comments saying “Do not buy it. Gross injustice to our fallen” and labeling it “disgusting”.

Mumbrella has seen an actual copy of the magazine, in which model Erin Pash says:

“Yeah, I do like guys in uniform. They’re bad arses, they have guns and they’re really fit and well built.”

Q: Plus they know how to follow orders…

A: [Laughs] “Yeah, they do what they’re told. Plus they can usually get down and do 100 push ups in a row, which is impressive!”

Outrageous stunts have often put Zoo in the news before. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young sued Zoo in 2013 after it superimposed her face on a bikini model. A year earlier, it ran a competition for the hottest asylum seeker in Australia.

In August 2014, media analyst Steve Allen described Zoo Weekly’s circulation numbers as terminal. In recent audit surveys it has often been one of the fastest-declining magazines in Australia, despite only having launched here in 2006. When it was last audited in December 2014, the paper had average print sales of 24,000. That’s a fall of 36.3% on a year earlier.

“There’s just not a need for it, all the stuff you get in a magazine like that is available online in an instant. In categories where most of the content or similar content is available online — I’m not saying Zoo don’t do original journalism — it’s just that genre of content is available all over the internet. And categories where that is the case, they’re just terminal,” Allen told Mumbrella.

Bauer first launched Zoo in the UK in 2004 as a trashier, raunchier rival to IPC Media’s Nuts, which launched at the same time. Nuts’ last issue was published in April last year after heavy circulation declines, leading many to question whether the genre still has life in it. But Zoo lives on.

Peter Fray

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