Clothing store New Form’s new ad campaign, which places Hitler on 18-foot-tall posters in Barbie-pink military garb and has him wearing an armband with a red heart in place of a swastika, has sparked outrage among the residents of an Italian city.
The posters, displayed at bus stops and on street corners throughout Sicily’s largest city, Palermo, read, “Cambia [Change] Style — Don’t Follow Your Leader” and, according to the company that created the advertisement, Zerocento, are meant to encourage young people not to be followers when it comes to clothing choices.
According to the Daily Telegraph, residents of Palermo, a city almost entirely devoid of Jews, have called for the posters’ removal, saying that the campaign is offensive. But Daniele Manno, a representative for Zerocento, said “We have ridiculed Hitler in a way that invites young people to create their own style and not to be influenced by their peers.”
A city council official with the center-Left Democratic Party, Rosario Filoramo, was quoted in the article, saying, “The use of an image of a person responsible for the worst chapters of the last century is offensive to our country’s constitutional principles and to the sensitivities of citizens.” Filoramo said he complained to the mayor of Palermo.
Protesters, however, need not worry. Zerocento plans to replace the posters within the next few weeks with a new advertising campaign featuring Mao Tse Tung, according to the Telegraph.
New Form carries various brands, including Miss Sixty, Calvin Klein and Diesel. No representative of the brands returned The Forward’s request for comment.