Saturday, January 07, 2012

Dubai gym apologise for using Auschwitz to promote weight loss

The founder of a fitness gym has been forced to apologise after he posted a series of offensive promotional images on the internet, including a photo of a notorious Nazi concentration camp with the slogan: “Kiss your calories goodbye.” Phil Parkinson, 32, who runs the Circuit Factory’s Facebook group, uploaded 10 images. Within hours he had removed four of them as a storm of protest erupted on Facebook and Twitter, where criticism of the images ranged from “tasteless” to “despicable”.

Mr Parkinson, who is British, had posted the images to Facebook under the title “New Poster Campaign – aka Politically Correct”. One of the first ones he removed amid the internet uproar was the black-and-white photo of the rail tracks leading to Auschwitz II–Birkenau, the network of concentration and extermination camps where Hitler’s Nazis murdered an estimated 1.3 million people between 1942 and 1944.

Mr Parkinson said he was sorry for using the image. “I apologise if I have offended anyone with the campaign. That was certainly not my intention when we created it,” he said. “You put strong ideas across, and if they’ve been poorly received then I apologise.” Mr Parkinson said he used an image of Auschwitz to advertise weight-loss and exercise classes because “it’s like a calorie concentration camp”.

“The idea of the campaign isn’t to upset anybody. 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 Circuit Factory, in Al Quoz, was established two years ago. It runs group exercise classes and employs five trainers. One said he was surprised that the images had been used. “I can see how these would offend people,” he said.


Shak said...

How could anyone not take offense? I'd like to meet the genius that signed off on this one.

Unknown said...

What's next? He'll Bataan Death March your calories away.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. His "apology" made it if the readers didn't understand.

Loyal Fan said...

This prat could do with reading up on the atrocities that took place there and maybe he would have thought twice about using it in his advertising.
I can't help wondering how some people's mind work.
Dreadful idea.