A Dubai gym and fitness center is under fire for promoting an ad campaign centered around a theme of the Holocaust for its latest fitness campaign.
Phil Parkinson, 32, posted the controversial ad, which has since been removed, to the Circuit Factory's Facebook. The ad pictured a set of railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz, which read Kiss your calories goodbye, a blatant reference to the 1.3 million people murdered by Nazis in 1942-1944.
According to Parkinson, however, the ad was mean to denote the comparison of weight-loss and exercising campaigns at Circuit Factory to a calorie concentration camp.
The idea of the campaign isn't to upset anybody, he said. 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 offence at it.
The promotional ad campaign sparked outrage from many with a firestorm of criticism for the anti-Semetic air, prompting him to apologize.
Apologies for the insane poster campaign that was put up this morning. The creative guy has been told where to go, Parkinson tweeted.
While completely apologetic, Parkinson pointed out the common theory, all publicity is good publicity, which has shined upon his business.
A huge number people have researched or Googled ... our YouTube channel has shot up, our group page has got an hundred extra members in minutes and we have had about five times as many enquiries as before, Parkinson told arabianbusiness.com. It has got to the point I am nervous that I can't cater for demand.
In light of his apology The Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said the league accepted his apology in an official statement.
We are increasingly troubled by both the ignorance and mindset of a generation that appears to be so distant from a basic understanding of the Holocaust that it seems acceptable to use this horrific tragedy as a gimmick to bring attention to promoting losing weight, Foxman said. What do we have to do to educate and impart to current and future generations the perils of bigotry, racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism?
The Holocaust ad in addition to the 10 others posted on Facebook were removed and replaced with a new image that read: Our values include raising the quality of people's lives, through physical exercise. Not cruelty or suffering. We made a big mistake and we are truly sorry.