The head of the advertising firm behind the campaign told Turkish media on Tuesday that the commercial was “misinterpreted.” The İstanbul-based advertising firm, Marka, said after just 10 days on air, the decision was made to withdraw the advert for Biomen shampoo. Hulusi Derici said his firm decided to take it off the air following a public backlash.
Beril Mardin, account director for Mark, told the BBC that “the Jewish community seemed more upset than they were supposed to be.” “Hitler is being made fun of to the utmost degree by making him the star of a shampoo commercial,” she said.
“It is indeed most upsetting, and also surprising, that people in Turkey and around the world mistook this commercial and interpreted it very, very incorrectly, as if Hitler is being portrayed as the epitome of manhood or as if the commercial is trying to justify him or his ideology,” she was quoted as saying.
The commercial, for a men's shampoo called Biomen, shows Hitler delivering an enthusiastic speech, urging male viewers to buy the product because it is “a 100 percent male shampoo.” In the ad, Hitler says, “If you are not wearing a woman's dress, you should not use her shampoo either.”
On Monday, Turkish-Jewish community leaders and Turkey's chief rabbi's office called Hitler “the most striking example of cruelty and savagery” and said using his image in a commercial was unacceptable. Their statement also demanded a public apology from the advertising company “to repair the damage this commercial has caused to society's conscience.”
About 20,000 Jews live in Turkey, mainly in İstanbul, a city of some 14 million Muslims. Most are descendants of Sephardim who escaped the Spanish Inquisition and found refuge in the Ottoman Empire some 500 years ago.