Just when you thought every single person in the world had learned the lesson that it is never, never, never a good idea to make light of the holocaust, this comes along: A gym called the Circuit Factory in Dubai put out an ad several days ago that features a picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp with the caption, "Kiss your calories goodbye."
As you might guess, people were quickly enraged after the ad was posted to Facebook (along with several other ads from the same campaign that were just as dumb but not quite as offensive). The gym's owner, Phil Parkinson, was forced to take the image down almost immediately. When he attempted to explain his terrible marketing strategy, he made things even worse, saying he went with the image because his gym is "like a calorie concentration camp." (Is there a gesture where you do a face palm and then put your hand all the way through the back of your head? Because that's what we should all be doing here.) He then came out with this gem:
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.
Oh, is that how branding works? Maybe you need to recalibrate your approach, dude, since you seem to have landed way off the mark. Still, even though it was all part of the marketing plan, Parkinson tweeted this "apology" for the ad:
Apologies for the insane poster campaign that was put up this morning. The creative guy has been told where to go.
Okay, Mr. Parkinson, can you see where that last bit could be perceived as in bad taste, since we were just talking about concentration camps? Ugh. Nevermind, you're a lost cause!