Is this ‘The Man in the High Castle’ ad campaign the worst ever?

11.24.15 2 years ago


“The Man in the High Castle” is a show that imagines what America would look like if Germany and Japan won WWII. That means it includes lots of Nazi imagery, like a swastika on the American flag and on the face of New York's iconic 2 Times Square.

These are images that, even 70 years after the war, can be very upsetting. In fact, “High Castle” showrunner Frank Spotnitz told The New York Times that the show had some difficulties securing locations for the shoot, as many building owners refused to participate once they found out that there would be swastikas involved.

“The production did what it could to keep from roiling the emotions of locals during filming, covering armbands between scenes and waiting as long as possible before hoisting inflammatory flags and banners,” the article continues, before concluding with production designer Drew Boughton saying that “the trickiest thing has been navigating these legitimate sensitivities.”

Apparently those legitimate sensitivities escaped the notice of OUTFRONT media, which decided to cover an NYC subway car in Nazi and Japanese empire imagery to promote the show:



That's PIX11 digital producer Katherine Lam wondering if perhaps this isn't a good idea. Ann Toback, executive director of Jewish nonprofit The Workmen's Circle, told Gothamist that she found herself forced to either stare at Nazi imagery on her way to work or sit on it (she sat on it).

It seems that the ads stop short of putting actual swastikas on the trains — there's an Iron Cross instead of a swastika under the Reichstag eagle, and it looks like they've been cut out of cast photos that also adorn the train. Still: putting Nazi imagery on a train (really kind of the worst place, considering the history) is not a good look. I should also point out that it's on the shuttle that runs between Times Square and Grand Central, which means maximum exposure to all us good Jews as we head back home for Thanksgiving.

OUTFRONT and the MTA, which runs New York's subway system, told Gothamist that the campaign passed their review processes. Amazon has yet to comment. But there's plenty of outrage over the whole thing on social media, which means this could be one of the worst ad campaigns in recent history … or one of the best.

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