The official Berlin tourist office launched an advertising campaign with an elderly woman showing the middle finger to people who refuse to wear masks.
“We obey the rules (for prevention of) coronavirus” and “a middle finger raised to everyone who is without a mask”, say the posters, next to the duly masked lady’s photo.
Visit Berlin (official name of the tourist agency) says that the campaign aims to highlight the importance of protecting the health of the elderly.
But it has sparked controversy, having been considered offensive by some Germans.
The ads were initially published on Tuesday (10/13) in a city newspaper, but quickly spread on social media.
Christian Tanzler, a spokesman for Visit Berlin, said the ad – part of a broader campaign – is intended to remind people to follow the health rules in force in the German capital.
“Most Berliners and our guests respect and follow the rules (for preventing) coronavirus, but some people do not. These people risk the lives of their elders and those at risk,” he told the BBC.
“We wanted to draw attention to this problem. Therefore, we chose this provocative action.”
The poster has a very particular tone to the city, added Tanzler: “Berliners are known for their direct communication”.
For the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Lorenz Maroldt, however, the campaign implies that “insulting people is more efficient than (issuing) clear and rigid rules, with effective control. They (the Senate, the who is co-author of the initiative) failed completely). “
“Our target audience is people who are not respecting the lives of others,” said Tanzler, in turn. “If some felt attacked because they cannot wear masks (due to health restrictions), that was not our goal and we apologize for that.”
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