Advertising Fail: Turkish Jewish Community Protests Use of Hitler in Shampoo Ad

This week, the Turkish Jewish community held a massive protest against a shampoo ad created by the manufacturer Biomen that used a clip of Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler.

The short, 12-second long clip in question, shown below, uses an actual clip of the Nazi dictator in the middle of a fiery speech.  The audio is a voice-over that says "If you're not wearing women's clothes, you shouldn't be using women's shampoo either.  Here it is.  A real man's shampoo.  Biomen.  Real men use Biomen." The clip also has German subtitles to make the clip more genuine.

In response to the commercial, the Turkish Jewish community held a protest in response, saying the clip was insensitive and has asked the advertising company responsible for the commercial to take it off the air.  The company at this point in time has refused.  In addition to the protest, the Turkish Rabbinate – headed by Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi - issued a statement in the Turkish daily newspaper Al-Hurriyet, saying that the commercial would not be removed despite attempts to convince Biomen that the use of the Hitler is unacceptable.  That statement also condemned the commercial and asked for a formal apology as well as reiterated the request that the advertisement be removed from the air.

In addition to the Turkish Jewish community, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement condemning the commercial.  The statement said that using Hitler to sell shampoo is “a disgusting and deplorably marketing ploy” and “an insult those who perished in the Holocaust”.  The national director of the ADL, Abraham Foxman, said that the commercial is the latest in the use of Holocaust imagery to sell commercial products.

Turkey has had a fascination with the German tyrant in recent years, with the rabidly anti-Semitic autobiography Mein Kampf being a bestseller in 2005.  The fascination has only escalated since then, especially since the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 that left several Turkish citizens dead and IDF soldiers wounded as well as the deterioration of ties between Israel and Turkey in 2011 after the publication of the Palmer Report that vindicated Israel of all wrongdoing.