Burnett apologizes for using Hitler in Thai potato chip ad

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BANGKOK -- Leo Burnett Co. Thailand issued a statement over the weekend saying it apologizes to anyone who finds a TV commercial built around Adolf Hitler insensitive.

The commercial for ``X'' potato chips from the local Food Processing Co. Ltd. shows Hitler saluting and then cuts to a woman who turns him into a foolish figure of fun by applying voodoo as she eats the snack. As the spot ends, the swastika in a Nazi flag turns into the brand's name.

Officials at the Israeli embassy said May 29 the campaign is ``disgusting.'' A variation of the ad appears on posters and the back panels of three-wheel motorized rickshaws, known as ``tuk tuk'' taxis.

The Burnett statement said: ``The agency acknowledges Hitler as one of history's most despicable dictators and would never do anything to suggest otherwise...The commercial is targeted at Thai teenagers and is designed to communicate that the world would be a better place if happiness ruled. It was never intended to offend and the agency apologizes to anyone who finds it insensitive.''

A Burnett spokesman said Tuesday the commercial is currently off the air as ``routine production work is being done on it.'' She said the client and agency have not reached a decision on whether to withdraw the ad or not.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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