Note to fashion designers: using Hitler in your ad campaigns—even in a “tongue-in-cheek” way—doesn’t go over well with the public.
The 18ft high posters of the Nazi leader advertise a line of clothing for young people and adorn street corners and bus stops in Palermo, Sicily’s biggest city.
The ads show the Fuhrer in a lurid pink uniform, with his swastika armband replaced with one bearing a bright red heart, above the slogan “Change Style – Don’t Follow Your Leader”.
Many local people say the advertising campaign is offensive and have called for the posters to be taken down.
A council official, Fabrizio Ferrandelli, said: “Having Hitler’s face on a poster… cannot be passed off as an innocent advertising message. Seeing these posters in front of schools is an embarrassment.” But the advertising agency which came up with the idea said critics of the campaign were over-reacting.
The Hitler poster was a tongue-in-cheek way of encouraging young people not to follow the crowd in their fashion choices.
“We have ridiculed Hitler in a way that invites young people to create their own style and not to be influenced by their peers,” said the agency’s Daniele Manno.
Impressionable locals will now have to brace themselves for a fresh affront – the company plans to bring out a new poster campaign in the next few weeks featuring Mao Tse Tung.