GLOBAL BRIEF: Nokia in Nazi endline blunder - John Owen on how ads for a mobile phone featured a Nazi slogan by mistake

’Ideas come from everywhere,’ James Best, the BMP DDB chairman, said in response to recent allegations that his agency had ripped off the Turner Prize winner, Gillian Wearing, in creating the new VW Golf campaign.

’Ideas come from everywhere,’ James Best, the BMP DDB chairman,

said in response to recent allegations that his agency had ripped off

the Turner Prize winner, Gillian Wearing, in creating the new VW Golf

campaign.



Nobody knows where ideas come from, not even the people who have

them.



Sometimes this can lead to problems that make Wearing’s complaints look

like very small beer. Just ask Nokia.



Having briefed its German agency, Gramm, to come up with a national

poster campaign for its Nokia 5100 model, the Finnish mobile phone

company was delighted when two young creatives came up with the line

’Jedem das Seine’ meaning ’to each his due’.



The line fitted in with the international ’freedom of expression’

campaign also being run by Nokia. The posters went up at the start of

this month but soon it became apparent that all was not well.



Unfortunately - unbeknown to the agency or to the Nokia marketing chief,

Heikki Tarvainen - Jedem das Seine was the motto on the gates to the

Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald.



Jewish groups were outraged and it didn’t take long for Tarvainen to

act. ’We had a couple of phone calls, we contacted the agency and

decided to change the campaign,’ he explains.



Nokia this week tore down the 3,000 posters and pulped a few thousand

brochures and dealer kits featuring the line. The financial cost will be

considerable, the damage to the brand uncertain.



For Tarvainen, the only option now is contrition. ’We are very sorry,’

he says before promising that more stringent checks will be made to

prevent similar oversights in future campaigns. ’We have to be

professional in this area.’ Doesn’t everyone?



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