A Sicilian fashion store has come under fire for using Adolf Hitler in its latest advertising campaign. The store, called New Form, has erected 18ft-high posters across the city showing the Fuhrer sporting a fluorescent pink military uniform, with his swastika armband replaced by a large red heart.
The advertising slogan tells the store’s teenage and twenty-something target market to "Change Style – Don't Follow Your Leader".
City bigwigs have reacted with fury to the campaign, which was created by local ad agency Zerocento. Councillor Rosario Filoramo, who has complained to Palermo's mayor, said: "The use of an image of a person responsible for the worst chapters of the last century is offensive to our country's constitutional principles and to the sensitivities of citizens."
Another council official, Fabrizio Ferrandelli, said: "Having Hitler's face on a poster cannot be passed off as an innocent advertising message."
Zerocento insists the campaign "ridicules" Hitler and that its critics are over-reacting. Agency executive Daniele Manno said the campaign "invites young people to create their own style and not to be influenced by their peers".
New Form stocks a range of international fashion brands including Miss Sixty, Calvin Klein and Diesel. So far none of these clothing houses has commented on the campaign.
Regardless of whether the Mayor of Palermo orders them torn down, the posters will be replaced shortly anyway. Zerocento is planning a new poster campaign in the next few weeks, which will feature the Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse Tung.