Nazi-Themed Cosmetics Ad Pulled in S. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A South Korean cosmetics company said Wednesday it will halt an ad campaign with Nazi references following complaints from a leading anti-Semitism watchdog group and the Israeli Embassy in Seoul.

The Coreana Cosmetics Co. decided Tuesday to withdraw the television ad for a skin lotion to prevent further controversy, company spokesman Kim Yoon-ho said.

The ad shows a young woman in a military-style trench coat holding a soldier's cap that appears to have the swastika-gripping eagle Nazi insignia. The version shown in previews contained the slogan: "Even Hitler didn't have the East and West."

Korad, the Seoul-based agency that produced the ad, said it believed a Nazi soldier and Hitler symbolized "revolution" in keeping with the lotion's "revolutionary" moisturizing and calming effects. It said the reference to the East and West emphasized the product's dual functions.

The cosmetics firm changed the slogan before the ad's actual airing in February to "No one has ever had the East and West." Kim said the revision was designed to prevent controversy.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Israeli Embassy sent letters of protest to Coreana calling for the ad's withdrawal, Kim said. Korad said it apologized to them on behalf of Coreana.

Last year, a South Korean publisher agreed to rewrite a best-selling children's book on U.S. history after the Wiesenthal Center criticized it for containing messages that echoed Nazi propaganda. The center has previously protested uses of Nazi themes in Korean bars and nightclubs.