A Norwegian health campaign has caused one heck of a stir after it compared some of the world’s most infamous dictators to teddy bears.
The Norwegian Heart and Lung Association (LHL) devised the concept behind the adverts to reflect that unwashed teddy bears pose a significant risk to children. That’s because they retain dust which can cause asthma and allergies.
But, shock horror, comparing a man responsible for the death of six million Jews in the holocaust, and many more throughout WW2, to a teddy bear that’s a bit dusty has not gone down too well.
Speaking to The Local, advertising firm Kitchen has defended the concept they developed with LHL.
Bendik Romstad said:
By focusing on children’s bedrooms we want to stop the problem of asthma and allergies before it even starts to develop. This campaign addresses how dangerous stuffed animals can be if they are not washed regularly.
For children, stuffed animals can be just as dangerous as the world’s worst despots.
Fellow Kitchen copywriter Maren Gimnes added:
With a simple and clear message combined with a very bold idea we managed to turn LHL Asthma and Allergy from an organization no one knew to being on everyone’s lips. But most importantly, the Norwegian people became aware of a very important fact – that they have to wash their stuffed animals so they don’t become dangerous!
The Leader of Det Mosaiske Trossamfund, a Norwegian Jewish society, has argued that the campaign potentially softens the public image of evil men such as Hitler.
Ervin Kohn told Dagbladet:
Hitler was a mass murderer and he doesn’t deserve this kind of attention. I’m worried that Hitler can be made to seem less dangerous when he’s used in such a way.
LHL has, however, received some support for their controversial ads.
Sociologist Trond Blindheim told Dagbladet:
These are people who were mass murderers and that has the paradoxical effect that people see the humour in it. Hitler as a teddy bear will achieve precisely the effect LHL wants.
The campaign has since been banned, but it definitely achieved its aim of mass exposure, albeit for all the wrong reasons.