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Monday, 27 August 2007

Beyond all measures of decency
Despite agreeing previously to its removal
Another Hitler Billboard is erected

Beyond all measures of decency

An advertising executive has described Adolf Hitler as "almost the poster boy for the Jewish people" after complaints about a controversial Christchurch billboard for Hell Pizza.

Cinderella advertising executive Kirk MacGibbon said he had received complaints from Jewish people on the Hitler billboard but none from Catholics on the use of the Pope in a Hell Pizza advertisement now on display in the city.

"Isn't it interesting how only the Jews complain?" he said.

MacGibbon said Hitler was still "persona non grata".

"He's almost the poster boy for the Jewish people. Don't forget – but don't look when we invade Palestine," he said.

In an apparently provocative bid for more publicity, the pizza chain has gone back on its commitment to remove a poster depicting Hitler saluting with a slice of pizza.

MacGibbon said on Thursday that the Auckland-based agency would "back down".

Hell Pizza appeared to be bowing to public pressure on Thursday, removing the controversial Hitler poster from Lincoln Road, Addington, only for it to reappear in St Asaph Street, in central Christchurch, yesterday morning.

The billboard – carrying the quote "It is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell" – has drawn widespread condemnation from the Jewish community.

The New Zealand Jewish Council yesterday lodged an official complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, while Israel's honorary consul to New Zealand, David Zwartz, described the advertisement as "distasteful" and "insensitive".

The Lincoln Road ad was taken down yesterday and replaced with one of Pope Benedict XVI saying "Hell is real and eternal".

The Hitler poster was transferred across town and re-erected in St Asaph Street.

MacGibbon said the Hitler billboard had been moved as part of its natural rotation around city billboard sites and had been re-erected before the message could get through to the contractor who put them up.

He said the billboard would come down on Tuesday.

Zwartz said MacGibbon's suggestion that the Holocaust was used as an excuse for Israel's present-day actions was a "very warped attitude".

"It's as distasteful as using Hitler in their advertisements," he said.

Catholic Communications spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer said the ads had been "talked about" in Catholic circles.

"They are hell-bent on kicking up merry hell," she said.

Any complaints would be lodged by individuals, she said, as "the last thing we want to do is give publicity to Hell".

Christchurch woman Linda Williams, who spotted the new Hitler billboard, said she did not like the ads.

"I don't agree with their principles," she said.

MacGibbon said the ads were successful and were not in danger of turning off customers.

"I am always sceptical of people who say they are going to change behaviour on the basis of one ad. The danger is in trivialising the brand and being seen as naughty little boys," he said.

If you would like to express you distate at this vile marketing please email Hell Pizza

If you live in New Zealand then:
Make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority
Postal Address: P O Box 10 675, Wellington
Physical Address: Ground Floor, 79 Boulcott Street, Wellington
Phone: 04 472 7852
Fax: 04 471 1785
Form: http://www.asa.co.nz/complaint_form.php

New site for Hell Pizza poster

Hell Pizza Website


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