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Gym uses photo of Auschwitz to promote weight loss program. Surprisingly, people have a problem with this

Jan 6, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT


Who’s sorry now? A fitness club in the country of Dubai has offered sloppy apologies for using a photograph of the Auschwitz concentration camp on an advertisement promoting its facility. You read that correctly. The owner of the Circuit Factory Gym posted 10 photos of a new ad campaign to the gym’s Facebook page on Wednesday — one of the ads including an image of the railroad leading to the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp with the slogan “Kiss Your Calories Goodbye.”

Needless to say, this unleashed a tidal wave of outrage, which included a denouncement of the ad from the Anti-Defamation League. Twitter user Alison Lehr posted the image, describing it as “The circuit factory epic fail ad. Apparently you lost your brain while trying to lose weight.”

Circuit Factory founder Phil Parkinson has been apologizing ever since. He’s taken down the photo, posted an apology, and has tweeted: “Apologies for the insane poster campaign that was put up this morning. The creative guy has been told where to go.”

But was it all a publicity stunt to begin with?

London Daily Mail:

That said, the ad may not have been bad for the company’s business. Parkinson reportedly told that the ad – and it’s backlash – prompted a huge amount of interest in his gym.

“A huge number people have researched or Googled… our YouTube channel has shot up, our [Facebook] group page has got an hundred extra members in minutes and we have had about five times as many inquiries as before,” Parkinson told the website. “It has got to the point I am nervous that I can’t cater for demand.”

I’m interested in the thought process that led to the ad. Nothing good can ever come from a sentence which starts off with: “You know what would be a good idea? It we got a photo of a Nazi death camp, and …”

Dubai Gym Circuit Factory Apologizes For Ad Campaign Featuring Pictures Of Auschwitz [CBS New York]
Gym slammed for using picture of Nazi death camp Auschwitz to promote weight loss… but owner says it’s been great for business [Daily Mail]

  1. koufaxmitzvah - Jan 6, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    “I’m interested in the thought process that led to the ad.”

    This is Dubai. “Moderate” as they may be for Londoners, they are still a part of the Arabian Peninsula where, not only is it considered fair game to hate Jews, but the entire concept of the Holocaust has been trivialized to the point, in some camps, of total denial.

    The bottom line is exactly what Parkinson was looking for: interest in his stinking club.

    In this day and age of high inflation, it’s great to know that Jewish blood is still as cheap as it was in 1939.

  2. goforthanddie - Jan 6, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    No one with a brain would think that a good idea. Sad that bad publicity is usually just as helpful as good pub.

  3. letsgosharks - Jan 6, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    their use of Ethiopian children to promote a better diet for
    kids was a little inappropriate as well.

  4. monigg - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    I think it was a brilliant add. It has generated more attention and activity than a half nude cutie on a treadmill would have…

    • 18marcopolo - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Right on Adolf !