Retail giant Amazon was recently forced to pull its advertising in New York City subway trains running from Grand Central to Times Square, which were decked with posters made to look like American flags influenced by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japanese designs.The ads promoted its program The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name and imagines a future in which the Axis Powers won World War II. According to Dan Brooke, marketing director at Channel 4, there is a battle in the TV industry to garner as many viewers as possible, which has seen companies look towards riskier marketing strategies. “You have to do more, and be more distinctive, to stand out,” he said. Following a similar strategy, Sky promoted its Arctic thriller, Fortitude, by placing an 8ft fully animated model of a polar bear at various London landmarks. And Channel 4’s Humans, a drama about artificial intelligence, was launched after a hoax including an eBay page and a store in Regent Street claimed to sell robots. “Some 15 years ago people would just turn up to watch shows,” said Brooke. “Now you have to go out and reach them more.” Yet while The Man in the High Castle has garnered positive reviews, the subway campaign had the opposite effect, with many saying on Twitter that the push was inappropriate.
Others have also questioned why the MTA rejected ads made by Thinx, which sells menstruation underwear, for being deemed too racy, while Nazi Germany symbolism was given the go-ahead.
I know it’s an ad, but going to Amazon and seeing Nazi propaganda is still really jarring.— Melody Burst (@MelodyBurst) November 20, 2015
Share this story