New Zealand restaurant chain Hell Pizza is currently under fire for placing posters featuring the man who triggered World War II and was responsible for the genocide of millions of people on billboards in four cities across the country. The ad features Hitler sieg-heiling with a slice in his hands and the slogan: "It is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell," a quote attributed to Hitler.
"We thought that people would be able to see a funny side to a guy doing a 'sieg heil' salute with a piece of pizza in his hand," Kirk MacGibbon of the Auckland-based Cinderella advertising agency said. "If you laugh at something, you take its power away." However he added that "there are certain things we are still unable to laugh about" and said there had been a handful of complaints from Jewish residents.
The company has abandoned the Hitler campaign, but it still isn't shying away from controversy. Its new advertising poster boy is Pope Benedict XVI, who is shown with a slice of pizza along with the quote: "Hell is real and eternal."
Hell Pizza also raised a storm of controversy among Catholics and others last year with its campaign for seven pizzas named after the seven deadly sins. To advertise its "lust" pizza, the company mailed condoms to potential customers.
"That was the most controversial ad campaign that we've ever done," MacGibbon said.