The whole of Germany is talking about a controversial ad campaign involving Hitler and AIDS – and it hasn’t even begun yet!
In the video, two naked people are seen in an explicit pose before the face of the man is revealed to be Adolf Hitler.
After that a slogan appears on the screen: “AIDS is a mass murderer – protect yourself.”
The video has caused no end of controversy with one German AIDS organisation has called for its immediate removal.
And video website YouTube's ban on the footage has provoked further debate as to whether it is a worthwhile attention-grabbing ad or distasteful discrimination.
The ad, which is already circulating on the internet, is set to be on TV screens in Germany from next week.
In the leading roles are actors portraying Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein.
The message the advertisers are trying to get across is that, like the dictators, the deadly virus is a mass murderer.
But is it really acceptable to use Hitler to warn about AIDS?
Carsten Schatz from Deutsche Aids-Hilfe (German AIDS Help) said: “It is one of the worst campaigns since the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. This distasteful ad mocks all the victims of National Socialism and compares HIV-positive people to mass murderers.”
The Central Council of Jews also hit out, calling the campaign insulting and ridiculing.
But the people behind the ads, an anti-AIDS organisation in Saarbrücken called ‘Regenbogen’ or ‘Rainbow’, have hit back.
Member Jan Schwertner said: “It was in no way intended by us to represent AIDS sufferers or people who are HIV positive as mass murderers.
“We wanted to give the virus a face – and not those who are ill.”
Former tennis star Michael Stich, who has worked with an AIDS foundation for years, said about the campaign: “I don’t understand this outcry from Aids-Hilfe.
“In a time in which everything seems allowed in the media, drastic images are a legitimate, perhaps even necessary means.”
The campaign was brought life by Hamburg advertising agency ‘das comitee’. Dirk Silz from the company said: “We wanted to draw attention. Attention which can’t be gained anymore with radishes which wear condoms.”
Stich added: “Aids-Hilfe must stop acting as if they alone know how education works. If they knew that, there would probably not be so many new infections.”