back to article Bell Canada in Sex Pistols billboard ad gaffe

Bell Canada is suitably red-faced after deploying a billboard campaign featuring a young woman dressed in punk rock attire and proudly sporting a badge declaring "Belsen was a gas". According to Reuters, the ads for Bell Canada's Solo discount service "appeared in mass-transit systems in Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as …

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Anonymous Coward

Pix or it didn't happen!

Or maybe video will do: http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_14732.aspx

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Bell Canada in Sex Pistols billboard ad gaffe

Bergen-Belsen had no gas chambers, and was not, officially, a concentration camp.

Many died there but these deaths were not due to gassing.

http://www.auschwitz.dk/Bergenbelsen.htm refers to this.

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Umm...

Those who were there and even their children are probably very old now, and I doubt very many of them are familiar with Sex Pistols songs. How many of them, do you suppose, actually a) noticed this, and b) got the reference?

Ah well, all it takes is one, I suppose...

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Oversensitivity!

The pistols had a sense of humor over this, same as they had a sense of humor about the queens jubilee. It was never meant as an insult to the jews, its a song title which takes the piss quite a bit out of the propaganda about bergen belson, which said it was actually some nicety nice holiday camp for jews.

Read the history of the song on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belsen_Was_a_Gas

What amuses me most is that the song title still has the ability to highlight the ignorant oversensitive sods that it did back in '77 these people should maybe take some time to read the lyrics, because the irony is obvious.

For instance the first verse;

Belsen was a gas, I heard the other day

In the open graves where the Jews all lay

"Life is fun and I wish you were here"

they wrote on postcards to those held dear.

Pretty much says it all.

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Anonymous Coward

Standing naked in the back of the wood

"ignorant oversensitive sods"

I'm not sure it's fair to criticise the people of Vancouver for being unfamiliar with an obscure Sex Pistols live track from "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle".

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Anonymous Coward

re: Standing naked in the back of the wood

"I'm not sure it's fair to criticise the people of Vancouver for being unfamiliar with an obscure Sex Pistols live track from "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle".

I'm not sure it's fair to call it an obscure track as The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle soundtracks are hardly rare recordings. Also, footage from the band performing the track during their first, ill-fated American tour gets used on plenty of docs about the Sex Pistols, films like DOA etc.

BTW, the line you quoted from Poptones as your heading, 'wood' should be 'woods'.

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Silver badge

No such thing as bad advertising!

He added: "It was inadvertent. Obviously, we would never depict such an offensive slogan in our advertising."

My arse! You knew full well what you were doing, but it's much better to get it out, wait for the rumpus, make a humble public apology, then write of the cost in favour of the world-wide free publicity! Ad people really are pond-scum.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oversensitivity!

Regardless of the irony of the original track, I doubt many people in Canada/US know the track in question as the Pistols never made it in the US. Infact they never really made it at all. They didn;t sell many records anywhere. The Pistols are all hype and no sales. That is music industry FACT.

So now on to your "oversensitivity" point. Do you really think its OK to make humorous references (ironic or not) to one of the biggest and most unplesant genocides in history? Do you laugh at the ethnic cleansing going on round the world? Do you revel in torture and death?

You need to sort yourself out mate, coz you never know you might be next and we'll see how funny you find it...

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Anonymous Coward

re: Re: Oversensitivity!

Rubbish, utter rubbish. Ill-thought out opinion is not fact, even if you capitalise the letters - idiot.

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Re: Oversensitivity!

They came for the trolls, but I wasn't a troll so I did nothing.

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LMFAO

@Standing naked in the back of the wood

If these people want to cause a sensation because of the title, they should maybe have thought, that Belson wasn't a gas camp, and the terminology used even in the title is ironic, with reference to a turn of phrase which is still common in the US. "Hey that movie was a gas", or how about this "I went to germany for the summer, it was a gas". Am I pushing it yet? Its an over the pond turn of phrase.

"So now on to your "oversensitivity" point. Do you really think its OK to make humorous references (ironic or not) to one of the biggest and most unplesant genocides in history?"

I think its very funny to joke about the fact that these people are so ignorant of the actual history, that the words "Belson was a Gas" is enough to make them behave in this way. Same as it was funny in '77, same as it'll always be funny to watch the absurd behavior of people when issues like this come up.

The ignorance and oversensitivity BTW: Is with reference to the complete and utter stupidity of people with regard to things like this, they immediately assume its an insult. And without being anti-semetic in the slightest, especially the jews.

I think my point was quite well proven, that people are oversensitive to this. The worst of it is, that everyone that cries that its wrong to say a word about it, should look at their governments behavior when they found out what the nazi's were doing.

Churchill put a block on any news transmissions from the discovery in 1942, same as he blocked transmissions of the polish genocide perpetrated by the russians. I have a great deal of respect for churchill, but finding out about that, lowered that respect slightly. The fact that by 1942 hardly anyone had been worked to death, lined up and shot etc... and by 1945 over 6 million jews and 7 million, gypsys, blacks, political opponents etc... had been slaughtered. In those 3 years, the british people were pretty much 100% behind the idea of belson, even the jewish population.

As I said, ignorant (of the facts of history), and oversensitive (to the mention of any reference which hasn't been pre-ordained as safe)

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Silver badge

Sorry, I don't follow your logic here

Sorry Karl I don't follow the logic in

"The fact that by 1942 hardly anyone had been worked to death, lined up and shot etc... and by 1945 over 6 million jews and 7 million, gypsys, blacks, political opponents etc... had been slaughtered. In those 3 years, the british people were pretty much 100% behind the idea of belson, even the jewish population."

In what way do you feel the British population where behind Belson? What more could they have possibly done to stop the genocide? Perhaps (and certainly with hindsight) governments around the world could be criticised for their attitudes before the start of open hostilities. But by 1942 everything in their power was being done to halt the Nazis.

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re: re: Oversensitivity!

"Do you laugh at the ethnic cleansing going on round the world? Do you revel in torture and death?"

Sometimes >.> Massive exposure to the internet leaves me a firm believer in the view that any joke can be funny, regardless of whether its subject is horrifying or not. As long as I don't think the person making the joke believes in whatever bit of biggotry his current joke features, why wouldn't I appreciate any humour it has?

On topic of the pulled ad, I'm in Canada and caught neither the reference to the Sex Pistols, nor to concentration camps.

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Hmmmm.

Small versions of the final ad in which the details were overlooked, huh?

When did copy editors stop using a loupe to examine negatives of print ad copy? Sure sounds like a "Let's put it out these until somebody raises a ruckus, then withdraw it and apologise. That's get us a whole bunch of publicity."

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Internet Humour

Notice the u - not American. How many people fit into the "outraged reader" type bracket? The same number who "hate" Microsoft?

Some of the funniest pictures on the net are totally inappropriate to their subject matter, that bridge that collapsed changed so it's actually eating the cars, people smiling for holiday snaps whilst a tsunami looms over them. Something about disaster lends itself to humour, the Belsen badge is a good example even if you didn't know about the Sex Pistols.

I don't think it should be used to promote a company but equally being hyper sensitive about it online just adds you to the "outraged reader" mentioned earlier. Being sympathetic to WWII outrages is one thing, trying to appear morally outraged about it just makes me think tsunami lol.

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Anonymous Coward

The Sex Pistols

were awesome!

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