Want to know which superstar product-endorser foreign ad agencies love the most? It's Adolf Hitler. Yes, that Hitler. The one who started the Holocaust.
In foreign countries, the fuhrer can be found in posters promoting everything from Hewlett-Packard's thumb drives to Hut Weber hats. (See gallery of Hitler ads below.) That Hitler smelling a rose at right? He's advertising Raysana, a brand of "anti-stress" tea in Turkey.
It's a sharp contrast to the U.S. and much of Western Europe, where using Hitler in an ad, even as a joke, is verboten. No matter how much the ad might heap ridicule upon the Nazi architect of World War II, the risk of causing offensive to survivors is too great.
In January, for instance, German coffee company Tchibo used the phrase "To Each His Own" to advertise its coffee without realising that the slogan once adorned the gates of Buchenwald. The company retracted the ads following a PR storm. And in April, Grey Group retracted an ad for Doc Morris Pharmacies condoms that jokingly suggested that if Hitler's mom had worn a rubber, history might be different.
But those instances are the exception that proves the rule. From Brazil to India, Hitler sells more stuff than Michael Jordan. (Further reading: A 1933 U.S. ad trade magazine lauds Hitler's use of American advertising skills.)
- Here's a selection of ads that use him: