Bell Mobility References Holocaust With 'Belsen Was A Gas' Button

belsen_gas.jpg's David Katz alerts us to an ad for Bell Mobility's Solo Mobile placed in Toronto's Downsview Station which carries a small pin that reads, "Belsen was a gas." The ad has caused a bit of a stir. The pin refers to the World War II Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen where gassing was anything but a pleasant experience. The pin is tiny but several commuters spotted it and it became a TV news story last Thursday.

Whether intentional or an art director's sneaky joke, Bell Mobility quickly reacted and issued a statement, saying, "We are in the process of removing all of these particular Solo Mobile ads... running these ads was an error on our part and one we certainly regret. You won't see them again of course."

The company promise all fifty one ads in and around Toronto and Vancouver which contain the button would be removed.

by Steve Hall    Sep-17-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Outdoor   

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the agency needs to cough up that art director. would love to hear the story behind that little "slip-up"

Posted by: scott on September 17, 2007 11:57 AM

AD or not, but somebody on this client team must have known what this button meant.

Posted by: Kurre on September 17, 2007 12:20 PM

I believe that slogan comes from a Sex Pistols song. Still quite an oversight.

Posted by: brian on September 17, 2007 12:24 PM

People bitch about needing to be a ‘team player' and now the AD gets singled out? Someone had to present it, Bell had to approve it and someone had to produce it. Blame the AD? They're not alone here. What's the AE’s excuse going to be on this one, I worked at the agency but had no knowledge this was going on? Yeaaaaah, right.

They tried that one 60 years ago too.

Posted by: bg on September 17, 2007 12:24 PM

It's a Sex Pistols song:

Posted by: Cartoon Guy on September 17, 2007 2:36 PM

"Belsen Was a Gas" is a reference to a Sex Pistols song. Especially since that font is specific to Sex Pistols flyers and album covers.

John Lydon is pissing himself with laughter.

Posted by: Caroline on September 17, 2007 3:07 PM

Well yes, it's a reference to the song. Granted, we missed that but it, along with the song, still refers to the concentration camp. Not that it bothers me that much because I don't get too worked up about this stuff. I just pretend to when I write:-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on September 17, 2007 4:41 PM

The pin was brought to the photo shoot by the stylist.

Posted by: Guy on September 26, 2007 4:28 PM