Cell Phone Ad Pokes Fun At Holocaust

Bell Solo Mobile a Canadian Cell phone company is in the process of removing several advertisements across the country after the undertones of the campaign execution were revealed. A button poking fun at Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp.

The ad demonstrates an advertiser's negligence and extremely poor taste. The Solo Mobile ad, which is hung high above the crowds inside Downsview Subway Station in Toronto depicts a tearful woman wearing a series of buttons, one of which reads "Belsen was a gas," a reference to Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp used during the Second World War.

Who is to blame? A ingnorant wardrobe assistant? A creative who thought they could slip one by the client and Canadians or just a consolidated group of clients, creatives and account people who were too busy pushing another execution through to realize what they were doing. I am guessing they grabbed a bunch of buttons for the shoot from a bucket in a store for $1 each and picked their favourite colours - not takign time to digest the messages.

I wonder how many people will take a fall over this one.

Link to the news story from Toronto's city TV.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's more likely that the photo was a stock image, purchased from an outside company that licenses stock photography. More and more companies are using stock photography, because it's much cheaper.

As I'd suspected when I first heard of the incident, the ad had slipped through because all the various people who approved it were only looking at small proofs, in which the button was far too tiny to read. But when the ad was blown-up to full billboard size, the button was suddenly clearly visible.

Needless to say, all the companies involved in this debacle are changing their procedures, effective immediately, to ensure that the proofs for future billboard ads will be actual billboard-size.