Hair Product for 'Real Men' Turkish TV Ad Features Hitler to Sell Shampoo

A Turkish TV commercial has sparked international criticism for featuring Adolf Hitler to praise the virtues of a "hundred percent men's shampoo." Critics have called it "repulsive," but it follows a controversial trend among firms to sell their wares with supposedly humorous references to Hitler and the Nazi era.
An archive image of Adolf Hitler delivering a speech in 1933.

An archive image of Adolf Hitler delivering a speech in 1933.

Foto: DPA

A Turkish cosmetics company is under fire for featuring Adolf Hitler in a television advert for men's shampoo, but it continues to run on the country's state television network despite widespread outrage.

The 12-second commercial shows black-and-white footage of Hitler  delivering an impassioned speech, dubbed with a high-pitched voice screaming the following words in clipped Turkish:

"Why are you using woman's shampoo if you're not wearing a woman's dress? Now there's the hundred percent men's shampoo Biomen. A real man uses Biomen."

Media reports said that Turkish state television has so far declined to remove the commercial, despite criticism from Jewish groups in Turkey and abroad. The US-based Anti-Defamation League released a statement saying it was "repulsed" at the commercial.

"The use of images of the violently anti-Semitic dictator who was responsible for the mass murder of 6 million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to sell shampoo is a disgusting and deplorable marketing ploy," Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, said in a statement.

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"It is an insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, those who survived, and those who fought to defeat the Nazis. This video is just the latest example of the use of Holocaust imagery in some countries to sell commercial products, which has contributed to the trivialization of and desensitization to the unparalleled horrors of the Holocaust," it continued.

"There can never be any justifiable purpose for using the images of Hitler, Nazis or any other depiction of the Nazi killing machine to sell products or services."

Not the First Example

Meanwhile, Turkish newspaper Hürriyet described the advert as irresponsible and tasteless. There have been numerous instances of Hitler and the Nazi era being used in advertizing campaigns in recent years, though.

Earlier this year, a gym in Dubai ran a promotional campaign for fitness classes using an image of Auschwitz under the caption: "Kiss your calories goodbye." After a storm of protest, it stopped the online campaign and donated money to charity.

In 2011, an Austrian entrepreneur came under investigation for selling "Hitler Schnaps" with a photo of the dictator on the label.

In 2010, a clothing store in Sicily was criticized for showing a photo montage of Hitler dressed in pink with the caption: "Change your style. Don't follow yor leader."

And in 2009, a controversial German health education campaign focused on the prevention of HIV/AIDS by featuring Hitler having sex. 

cro -- with wire reports
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