SKorean cosmetics maker scraps Nazi-theme advert after row


SEOUL, April 16, 2008 (AFP) - A South Korean cosmetics maker said Wednesday April 17th it has scrapped a Nazi-themed TV advertisement, after a pilot version was leaked on the Internet and sparked international protests.

Coreana amended the pilot version before it was broadcast, removing a reference to Hitler.

But a modified version which appeared on TV still featured a local actress in a Nazi-style uniform, with the sound of shells exploding in the background.

A company official told AFP it has now scrapped the commercial altogether.

The pilot promotion for a new skin care product carried a caption superimposed on the actress reading: "Even Hitler could not take over the East and the West at the same time."

After protests from Jewish and other international groups, the caption was changed to "No one has ever taken over the East and West at the same time."

People around the world who watched the clip said they could not understand how Koreans could make it when they criticise Japan for its World War II atrocities, Dong-A Ilbo newspaper commented Thursday.

Coreana has sent written apologies to the Israeli embassy in Seoul and Jewish advocacy groups abroad, according to an official with the company's domestic advertising agency Korad.

"There was no malicious intention. We had just wanted to highlight the superiority of a new product, focusing on the revolutionary concept of conquest," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The "East and West" reference was to the product's moisturising and curative properties, the official said.

Last year Israel's ambassador expressed outrage over a Nazi-themed bar in northern Seoul. The owner reportedly claimed he was just trying to be different and had given no thought to Nazi ideology.

A similar bar in Seoul changed its theme in 2002 after protests.

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