Business, Economics and Jobs

Lenin cartoon in phone ad sparks outrage in Poland


An advertising poster by one of Polish mobile operators featuring a caricature of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is pictured in Warsaw on January 8, 2013.



Late Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is remembered by older people in Poland for his brutal regime. During his reign, his regime killed millions. So when Poland's leading phone company launched an ad campaign featuring a cutsey Lenin cartoon, people were not pleased. Phone company Heyah's campaign is being terminated just days after it launched after major customer backlash, Polskie Radio reported.“In view of the unfavorable comments that have been expressed against the campaign, as well as the emergence of ideological threads in the discussion, we have decided to end it [the campaign],” Heyah announced. "Our decision is dictated by our wish to show respect to the feelings of our customers, as well as to adhere to business ethics, a matter which is of paramount important to us.”

The Institute of National Remembrance, a state body that investigates communist-era crimes, wrote an open letter to the mobile operator saying that Lenin was “one of the biggest criminals” of the 20th century, the Associated Press reported

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While older Poles remember the terror that the Soviet regime caused, the company apparently counted on younger Poles to embrace the campaign. In Warsaw, one commercial showed a young couple having a romantic dinner, BBC News reported A miniature version of an actor playing Lenin then appears and encourages them to sign up with Heyah. Later, a cartoon image of Lenin's head shouts: "Keep Talking!"

"The social effects of this campaign could also be more dangerous because it is addressed to young people, among whom it builds positive associations with Lenin," the Institute of National Remembrance said in its letter.