A founder of a Dubai gym was forced to apologize for posting an offensive promotional campaign featuring a photo of a Nazi concentration camp with the slogan “Kiss your calories goodbye,” the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported.
Earlier this week, Phil Parkinson, 32, posted a series of 10 photos on Facebook, including a shot of the rail tracks leading to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the network of concentration and death camps in Poland where Hitler’s Nazis murdered an estimated 1.3 million people between 1942 and 1944.
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According to the report, Parkinson said he used the image to advertise weight-loss and exercise classes because “it’s like a calorie concentration camp."
The measure was poorly received; within hours, angry Facebook and Twitter comments poured in, calling the campaign "tasteless," "despicable" and "out of control." Parkinson removed the photo, and some of the others, later in the day.
“I apologize if I have offended anyone with the campaign. That was certainly not my intention when we created it,” he told the newspaper.
“The idea of the campaign isn’t to upset anybody. The way branding works is … you want people talking about your business. We want them talking about us, but we don’t want people to take offense at it," he said.
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Parkinson said in a twitter message that the "creative guy" responsible for the campaign "has been told where to go.”
Another photo that was featured in the campaign was a poster depicting a toilet full of feces, accompanied by the word “bootcamps." The second showed men doing push-ups, with the caption: “Saving Dubai from s**t like this." The third was a poster of four scantily dressed women that proclaimed: “Are you a fat s**g? Just be a s**g.”
Ahmed, a Palestinian patron of the fitness center, claimed that the other photos in the series were regarded as offensive solely because they were accompanied by the Auschwitz image.
“If the Holocaust one wasn’t there, no one would have paid attention to the other images. Sexist images are everywhere," he said. “I personally don’t like any human tragedies to be used for commercial gains.”
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