Auschwitz to Sell Fitness?

The Circuit Factory, a gym in Dubai, used an Auschwitz photo to sell membership.

Auschwitz Gym Ad

No surprise, the company heard a strong reaction to the campaign on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Circuit Factory responded by firing its "creative guy," pledging a donation to an undetermined charity, and apologizing:

Auschwitz Gym Ad Apology

The Anti-Defamation League issued this statement about the incident:

"We are increasingly troubled by both the ignorance and mindset of a generation that appears to be so distant from a basic understanding of the Holocaust that it seems acceptable to use this horrific tragedy as a gimmick to bring attention to promoting losing weight."

Despite the public reaction, the campaign may have worked, as Circuit Factory founder Phil Parkinson told Arabian Business News:

"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 enquiries as before," he said. "It has got to the point I am nervous that I can't cater for demand."

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your reaction to the ad? Do you find it funny, offensive, or something else?
  • What do you make of the increased interest in the gym? Did the campaign pay off, after all? 
  • How can a company avoid this type of campaign, which may offend people?