Oct 02 2007
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UAE: Hitler advert fury
A property advert featuring a picture of German dictator Adolf Hitler has sparked outrage across the UAE.
Conqueror Real Estate used an image of the Führer alongside the strapline: "The World Is Yours".
And yesterday the firm's general manager admitted he authorised use of the image to attract attention to his firm.
But his choice has been criticised by experts and residents, who have branded the advert insulting and of bad taste.
Hitler's policy of creating a German empire triggered the Second World War and led to the deaths of millions of people. Dutch national Hink Huisman said: "It is absolutely insulting. It only shows the support of a certain community for Hitler's cause, without realising what they are supporting, or what they think they are supporting.
"I have been here for 27 years and heard several positive comments towards Hitler, but these comments and the publication of such an ad show nothing but ignorance." A Scottish sales professional, who asked to be identified as Fiona M, said: "It is in very bad taste. The ad says to me, 'Hitler was a conqueror and that's good, so buy something associated with it'. No, I wouldn't." The use of the picture of Hitler is the latest in a series of controversies triggered by the use of imagery from the Third Reich.
Yesterday, a home furnishing firm in India agreed to withdraw the name "The Nazi Collection" from a new line of bedspreads. And last month, fashion chain Zara withdrew a handbag from its stores after a customer pointed out the design featured swastikas.
David Dakak, general manager of Conqueror Real Estate, told Emirates Today: "My aim is not to offend people, it is to attract attention. The properties section is nothing but uniform building advertisements, and I need to stand out. I need to shock, to get people talking about the company." He said the directions for the design came from his head office in Syria.
"It is purely a business decision. In business there is no religion, but money," he said, adding the company's telephone switchboard had been busier than usual.
"Only three or four were complaints, but the rest were business calls," he said.
Previously, the firm ran an advertisement with an image of Mahatma Gandhi, and upset the Indian community. Other adverts in the series have featured Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, and more yet to come will bear images of Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Mao Tse Tung.
One former advertising executive, who asked not to be named, said: "As a way of making waves, the use of Hitler's image is probably second to none.
"But I would question whether it would gain a company more customers.
"When all is said and done, the use of Hitler as a marketing tool is at the very least in bad taste." Advertising account executive Khalid Nasser said: "As a first impression, I don't think it is the message [Conqueror] you want to go for. They should have probably sent a friendlier message. I can see where they are going, but a very small section of the market will find this humourous.
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